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Murray State art auction to supply student scholarships

Annual+Holiday+Art+Auction+poster+with+featured+artist+John+Utgaards+piece+Indomitable+Landscape.+Photo+from+%40murraystateart+on+Instagram.+
Annual Holiday Art Auction poster with featured artist John Utgaards’ piece ‘Indomitable Landscape.’ Photo from @murraystateart on Instagram.

Is your dorm missing an artistic flair? The Murray State Art and Design program’s Holiday Art Auction is a great opportunity to start your art collection with appealing works from local artists and help fund scholarships for visual arts students.

This annual fundraiser accepts donated works from University students, faculty and alumni as well as Murray community members for the past 30 years. It accepts pieces of all mediums, from watercolors and prints to metalwork and textiles. Submissions may also be “experiences,” such as a piece commissioned with a buyer-submitted image after winning the bid. 

“It’s a good way not only to celebrate the students, but the work, the cost that goes for, it makes it affordable enough for any budget,” Amanda Kaler Combs, accounting clerk of the Art and Design Department, said. “It’s a way to celebrate the art department and see what students are doing.”

Art majors who donate to or volunteer at the auction will be eligible for a scholarship funded by the event’s proceeds. Last year’s auction raised $1,200 in scholarships. While donors do not receive direct compensation for their submitted works, these artists find value in contributing to this University event. Ann Gosser, Art and Design Department administrative assistant, called the auction a way of investing in the next generation of art students. 

“For a lot of students, it’s the first time they’ve ever sold their work before, like to a stranger,” Gosser said. “Your parents always want to buy your work, your best friend might be like, ‘I’ll give you five dollars for it,’ but this is the first time a stranger is buying it. I think that can mean so much more.”

Each year, the auction features an artist and their work. The 2023 featured artist is Ceramics Professor John Utgaard. His donated work, titled “Indomitable Landscape,” is a small abstract sculpture. Like many of the works featured on his personal website, it represents natural landscapes undamaged by human intervention. 

This event not only funds art education with every dollar raised, it showcases the creative talent of Murray State and the surrounding community. Displaying these works brings to light the talent and craftsmanship each artist puts into their craft. Gosser and Combs agree that the auction celebrates the hard work and camaraderie of art students and faculty as the fall semester comes to an end.

“It’s kind of eye-opening when, say, a freshman’s donated something that gets bid up to an amount beyond what they were expecting,” Utgaard said. “There’s always some students’ works that get juried into the live auction. I think that’s an exciting thing for them when they’ve donated.”

 The 2023 Holiday Art Auction will be hosted at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10  in the Clara Eagle Gallery. It will begin with a silent auction followed by the larger live auction at 7 with Calvert City Auctioneer Brad “Bones” Harris. Donations will be accepted through Nov. 8 and should be dropped off on the 6th floor of the Fine Arts building.

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About the Contributor
Gray Hawkins
Gray Hawkins, Staff writer
Gray Hawkins is a freshman journalism major. They enjoy writing, reading, listening to some music and playing D&D. Some of their favorite book series are: The Inheritance Cycle, Six of Crows and Percy Jackson and the Olympians. They spend most of their time in the dorm with their ESA bearded dragon, Monarch.

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