Fast talker Don Raffan, alongisde Brody Raffan, lead the live art auction as part of the Vernon Public Art Gallery’s annual Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts July 18. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts breaks fundraising record for Vernon Gallery

More than $62,000 raised for Vernon Public Art Gallery through annual event

Every year sees the Vernon Public Art Gallery’s annual fundraiser grow, and this year was no exception.

Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts, now in its 32nd year, raised more than $62,000 for the Gallery through live and silent auctions at Turtle Mountain Winery July 18.

Related: Vernon Public Art Gallery ready for annual art auction fundraiser

“This community is amazing,” said Dauna Kennedy Grant, executive director after she finished totalling the results. “It’s just great to see them come out. It shows the community does support the Gallery.”

The evening, emceed by Jason Armstrong of Beach Radio, brought together gourmet appetizers by local caterers, wine and beer and a special welcome cocktail for guests.

However, the core of the evening is found in the 80-item silent auction and lively 46-lot live auction lead by fast talkers Don and Brody Raffan.

Don, clad in his iconic cowboy hat with a white shirt and red tie, and Brody alternated between caller and spotter as they wove their way through the lots.

Kara Barkved’s work earned top honours as one of her paintings went for the highest ticket item of the night at $2,800. Heidi Thompson also had two high ticket items at $2,400 and $2,100.

“That was pretty exciting,” Kennedy Grant said of the auction action.

Related: A colourful summer night celebrating art

Through the annual fundraiser, Kennedy Grant said the Gallery gains resources to put on the myriad of events they host throughout the year.

“Every year it’s very essential and critical to our operation,” she said. “This is such an important event.”

And the Gallery doesn’t plan on pulling the plug any time soon.

“A lot of big fundraiser don’t last for more than 10 years,” Kennedy Grant said. “As long as the community continues to come, it will keep going.”

Other big ticket items from the night included a house boat package and surprise pick from Bannister Honda and Deb White to kick off the auction.

As for the continued success of the event, Kennedy Grant suggests the blossoming culture in the community.

“Big thank you to the community. This is going to help us propel forward to referendum,” Kennedy Grant said. “I think people are ready for the new facility. Vernon has grown and become a cultural hub. A new facility for the museum, art gallery, and similar user groups would be immensely beneficial for the community.”

Related: RDNO approves referendum


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