VACI Partners’ Stroll Through the Arts Gala to Raise Money for Art Scholarships

This weekend, Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution welcomes veteran art patrons and first-time collectors alike to attend the largest VACI fundraiser of the year.

From 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday outside the Strohl Art Center, VACI Partners will be hosting the Stroll Through the Arts Gala. The gala will feature live music from local musician Bill Ward, food and wine catered by the Athenaeum Hotel, a silent auction of local art and a live auction facilitated by Carson Chesley of C and C Auctioneers in Erie, Pennsylvania. Tickets for Stroll Through the Arts are $100, and are available for purchase at Strohl Art Center or by calling 716-357-6460. Proceeds will go toward scholarships at the School of Art to cover expenses for the students and emerging artists. The gala has typically raised $30,000 to $40,000 each year. New this year, the live auction will feature 12 pieces by artists featured in VACI’s 2018 exhibitions.

“It’s sort of the greatest hits of 2018,” said Lauren Benson, VACI Partner.

Benson and her gala co-chair Cathy Clark are responsible for organizing Stroll Through the Arts this year.This year, a portion of the auction will go toward an artist reserve price, with all other proceeds going toward the scholarship fund.

“This year we’re supporting both the artists who are giving us their work for the live auction and supporting our emerging artists through the scholarship funds that are raised,” Clark said.

The pieces up for live auction are currently on display in the Bridge Gallery on the first floor of Strohl Art Center.

“Go and look ahead of time,” Clark said. “Check everything out.”

VACI Partners have made efforts in recent years to attract younger Chautauquans to the gala. They have a few members of NOW Generation, Chautauqua’s network of 21 to 40-year-olds, on the board.

“They’re rallying friends, and that’s fun,” Benson said.

Benson and Clark encourage people of all art backgrounds to attend.

“The art is very accessible, there’s a really broad range of items that will be auctioned,” Clark said. “(There’s) something that will appeal to just about everyone.”
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The author Eleanor Bishop

Eleanor Bishop is a Cincinnati native and rising senior studying journalism at Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College. She is excited to (virtually) return to the Daily for her second year, where she is covering visual arts, opera and dance. When she’s not writing, Eleanor enjoys comedy, pop music and staring wistfully out windows, thinking about how she should probably be writing.