Colin Barr (left) and Ian Pusey take in the artwork on display for the Vernon Public Art Gallery’s Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts July 19. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

A colourful summer night celebrating art

Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts raises more than $60,000 for the Vernon Public Art Gallery

A warm breeze rolls through Turtle Mountain Winery, granting reprieve from the hot, albeit cloud-covered, midsummer night in the North Okanagan.

The elaborate winery is full of patrons dressed both in elegant garb and casual attire discussing the extensive collection of breathtaking artwork on display for the Vernon Public Art Gallery’s 31st annual Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts Wednesday.

Classic rock sounds of Vernon’s Fleet First are carried on the summer breeze, weaving throughout the tents playing host to the 44 multimedia pieces that will be sold at auction later in the night.

“I thought that it was diverse,” says Cheryl Stevenson, who purchased three pieces of artwork — two in the live auction and one in the silent auction.

“I plan on coming again,” Stevenson says, adding that it was her first time attending the event.

Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts is VPAG’s primary fundraiser, raising more than $60,000 this year compared to last year’s $51,000.

“We had its best year ever,” says VPAG executive director Dauna Kennedy Grant. “It’s more than just purchasing the art, it’s supporting the art gallery.”

The crowd traverses the elaborate displays with drinks from Okanagan Spring Brewery, Gray Monk Estate Winery, and Okanagan Spirits in hand as volunteers cart around hors d’oeuvres from Cracked Pepper Catering, The Fig Catering, Italian Kitchen, and Wings Bar and Grill.

As the early evening carries on, a light drizzle sweeps through the valley, causing some patrons to seek shelter with the artwork.

Art enthusiasts Colin Barr and Ian Pusey take in the display as they sip Gray Monk wine.

“The drinks are great. The entertainment is great. It’s fun times,” Pusey says, adding that it is the second year he has been at the VPAG fundraiser.

Barr, who is at Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts for the first time, agrees.

“It’s very entertaining and lively. I bid on a tanning package, best $15 I ever spent,” Barr laughs.

Both Barr and Pusey plan on returning next year.

At 8 p.m. sharp, Kennedy Grant calls the crowd to muster for the live auction. After a brief introduction of VPAG staff and volunteers, Don and Peter Raffan of Valley Auction and the Raffan Brothers make their way to the front.

The sound of the Raffan brothers is reminiscent of a bluegrass dittie and Nascar announcer amalgamation, effectively enticing the crowd to cast bids on the pieces.

Don and Peter take turns as auctioneer and spotter, working in unison to keep spirits high. Lots are moving quickly as the Raffan brothers fire off numbers and VPAG volunteers walk through the audience, showing off the pieces on auction.

Lot 25 is contemporary impressionist Rick Bond’s The Rail Trail. Bond is a crowd favourite who creates designs from every day life in a dynamic and relaxed style. The Rail Trail is listed at a fair market value of $2,100, but the bids quickly surpass the benchmark, and the bidding ceases at $2,700.

It looks as though Bond’s piece will be the highest ticket item, but minutes later, the Raffans call out lot 38 — Luis Fuentes’ A View of Kalamalka Lake.

Peruvian-born Fuentes is an internationally-renowned artist who was the 2016 Mackie Lake House artist in residence. While A View of Kalamalka Lake didn’t reach its fair market value of $4,320, it was the highest ticket item, selling for $2,800.

The Raffans continue to run the show as the final lots are called, and the crowd continues to bid high.

“It was excellent,” says VPAG marketing and programming coordinator Laura Ashton. “We are thrilled with the community support. There was a lot of enthusiastic involvement in the live auction.”

Kennedy Grant agrees.

“We are really happy with the outcome. It helps us to continue to move forward and provide the community with the art gallery.”

Just Posted

Vernon student off to UBCM with council

Cadence Taron, a Grade 12 student at Fulton Secondary, applied to attend annual convention

City of Vernon to develop Civic Arena site into park

Planning process approved by council; construction to start in 2020 or 2021

Vernon RCMP superintendent helps with arrest

Supt. Shawna Baher arrests man for theft; turns out to be suspect in assault and robbery

Vernon Vipers open BCHL training camp

Defending Interior Conference champs open pre-season slate Friday at home vs Grande Prairie (AJHL)

No costs as directed upsets Vernon councillor

Scott Anderson and council still waiting for as-directed costs on hiring private security firm

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Penticton man sentenced in non-fatal 2017 shooting

Elkena Michael Knauff sentenced to seven and a half months in jail

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Kamloops RCMP locate and arrest man who fled from police

The 22-year-old male was wanted in relation to a domestic violence investigation

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

COLUMN: Much to enjoy at Ryga Arts Festival

As I learn about George Ryga and his contributions, it is clear why this festival carries his name

Kelowna man arrested after allegedly setting blaze near Fire Department

The man was allegedly seen lighting bushes on fire near the Kelowna Fire Department

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Most Read