Event organizer and chanteuse Judy Rose sings Mambo Italiano under a portrait of Sveva Caetani at the Splash of Red fundraiser for the Caetani Centre Thursday.

Event organizer and chanteuse Judy Rose sings Mambo Italiano under a portrait of Sveva Caetani at the Splash of Red fundraiser for the Caetani Centre Thursday.

Grazie a tutti

Caetani Centre patrons celebrate in fine Italian style at second annual Splash of Red art auction and dinner.

Wine was splashed, cash was splashed, and the art, food and company made a huge splash.

Thursday’s second annual A Splash of Red fundraiser, held in the beautifully decorated Caetani Cultural Centre gardens, saw more than 100 patrons, artists, sponsors and volunteers –– dressed in black and white finery with a splash of red –– pay ode to Italian heiress and renowned artist Sveva Caetani, and the property she left behind after her death for the community to enjoy.

“Final figures are not all in, but it’s safe to say we raised over $20,000,” said Judy Rose, event organizer.

The money will go towards the Caetani Centre’s open house project, to open the ground floor of the historic house up to the community for salon performances, showcases, artist residencies and other events.

More than 25 pieces of art work, donated by respected Okanagan artists, were displayed around the gardens on easels as patrons nibbled on appetizers and sipped Italian prosecco out of hand painted flutes.

Rose’s rousing performance of Mambo Italiano, made famous by Rosemary Clooney, got everyone in the mood for the seated dinner at long tables draped in white table cloths.

Accompanied by pianist extraordinare Jim Leonard, local soprano Melina Moore blew the clouds at bay with a breathless performance of O Sole Mio, and was later joined by Rose in a duet of the traditional Neapolitan song, Santa Lucia.

Guests happily noshed on the three-course organic Italian dinner served by Basket Case Catering, with glasses clinking before a tribute dedicated to recently deceased artist Joan Heriot was eloquently delivered by emcee for the evening, Betty Selin.

A portrait of Caetani, painted by another event organizer Michelle Loughery, hung above watching the proceedings as auctioneer Victor Noakes was introduced.

Local stage and lighting designer Dave Brotsky could be seen holding a spotlight as the art was brought in, piece by piece, by Caetani student intern Robyn Soderberg and her “twin” Desiree Wagner.

Unrelenting to any naysayers, Noakes helped along the lively bids, which reached as high as $3,000 for Doug Alcock’s metal and glass sculpture, Devil’s Dream; $2,400 for Loughery’s work, Faith; and Heidi Thompson’s Yellow Orange Rising fetching $1,500.

“Most pieces went for over the fair market value,” said  fellow organizer Angelika Jaeger. “Gale Woodhouse’s clay sculpture, Garden Real Estate, went for nearly double the value.”

As the evening wrapped up, Rose, Jaeger and Loughery thanked sponsors Nature’s Fare, Nor-Val, Pure Granite Rocks, Toyota, Sladen Moore and Associates, Leavitt Machinery, and many more for their support.

“We also want to thank our artists, Victor Noakes from Antique Imports, as our auctioneer, Betty Selin from Sun FM for MCing, all the volunteers, especially Scotia Bank, those who donated draw prizes, as well as the patrons who attended and purchased the art,” said Rose, who is already preparing for A Splash of Red 2013.