by Sara Farizan
DANVERS- Benefit art auctions can sometimes feel like a bit of an obligation with attendees ranging from art aficionados looking for a great deal to supportive parents who do not really know what to make of their child’s abstract art piece. The Montserrat College of Art benefit art auction on April 30th however, entitled Artrageous, was anything but an obligation and harbored an enthusiastic crowd of around 600 attendees. Guests milled about a loft space provided by the evening’s sponsors, Brookwood Financial and Partners, taking in exceptional art, interactive art installations and getting to know students working at the benefit. As attendees perused silent auction items varying from mixed media portraits, custom made jewelry and even sports paraphernalia they were also treated to amazing food items like mini lobster rolls, ceviche and personal sized chicken potpies. An artist painted a lucky attendee during the silent auction and as the DJ played ambient music one could see the amount of care and organization put into the evening that was all in hopes of better serving the college’s students.
Since it’s inception in 1970 Montserrat, a small college of visual art and design located in Beverly, has made it it’s mission to create not only future artists that will enrich their future communities, but also to ensure that their students can make a living in pursuing a degree in the arts. The college has 357 undergraduate students and 97% of these students receive some type of financial aid. In these tough economic times, every little bit helps especially when art budgets are unfortunately and oftentimes the first to be cut. It was no surprise then to see the gleam in students’ eyes during the live auction as paddles raised throughout the evening. Students held pieces on display on stage while the auctioneer encouraged higher bids joking that an increment of fifty dollars was essentially a tank of gas and art is clearly the longer lasting investment. 200 artists graciously contributed works to be auctioned off including Rachel Perry Welty who was recently featured at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum and in the Artscope January/February 2011 issue with her piece Lost in My Life. The benefit was able to raise an estimated $275,000 for student scholarships and still managed to be a rollicking good time for all involved.