Every summer, CVA Members — formerly known as VACI Partners — host Stroll Through the Arts, an annual gala and art auction that raises money toward scholarships for the students and emerging artists at the School of Art. It is the largest CVA Member fundraiser of the season.
When the Institution announced its move to a virtual season this year, Judy Barie, the Susan and John Turben Director of CVA Galleries, knew the typical gala wouldn’t be possible, but she and the CVA gallery staff didn’t want to give up on this opportunity to support the School of Art.
“We decided to have an online auction,” Barie said. “I reached out to several artists whose work we had done well with in the past, and they sent us their work.”
The Chautauqua Visual Arts Gala Auction began at noon EDT Wednesday, Aug. 19, and runs until 11:59 p.m. EDT Saturday, Aug. 22, on 32Auctions.com. Chautauquans can register and start bidding through the CVA website.
There are 31 pieces available from 22 different artists, all who have shown at Chautauqua before, including Barie herself. Standouts from the 2019 season include a sculpture by artist Ahrong Kim, whose work was shown in “Small Sculptures: Big Impact,” and silverware still life paintings from Leslie Lewis Sigler, who presented in “Getting Real.”
The bidding for each piece will start at the artist’s reserve price, and anything raised above said price will go directly toward scholarships.
“This is a tough time for artists now, so I’m very happy we were able to give them at least the reserve price,” Barie said. “Some chose not to even accept the reserve price, and give 100% to the scholarships.”
There is also an option on the auction web page to contribute directly to School of Art scholarships. Chautauquans can sponsor a full, half or tenth of a scholarship for a student and emerging artist next year.
Chautauquans who sponsor a full or second-tier scholarship will be invited to a dinner in the Strohl Art Center during the 2021 season to meet the artist they sponsored. Third-tier sponsors will be invited to a wine and cheese party next year.
Eliminating the financial burden of attending the School of Art enables Sharon Louden, the Sydelle Sonkin and Herb Siegel Artistic Director of the Visual Arts, and the rest of the School of Art faculty to accept emerging artists based on ability alone.
“For the last two years, under Sharon’s new leadership, we have been able, through many avenues, to give every single student a full scholarship,” Barie said. “Now we’ve become one of the most competitive programs in the country. … Our application rates have soared, not just due to this, but due to Sharon’s new leadership and our core faculty, so it’s win-win. It just elevates our program tremendously.”