By Margaret Garmon
It may have been cold outside, but things heated up quickly inside the Maplewood Career Center in Ravenna recently as enthusiastic bidders at the annual Townhall II Art Auction purchased more than $27,000 in art and special auction packages to benefit the agency.
More than 160 art patrons and Townhall II supporters got into the mood during the preview from noon to 1 p.m., viewing items for sale, listening to the lilting strains of harpist Leann Anderson and enjoying delectable hors doeuvres and pastries provided by the Hiram College Catering Department and Judys Sweet Sensations of Sugar Bush Knolls.
LaSharon McNeal, vice president of the Townhall II board of directors, welcomed the audience, describing this auction the 15th as the largest of all its forerunners.
This auction is one of two fund-raisers Townhall II organizes each year to fund capital needs and Townhall II operations, McNeal said, urging the audience to get into the spirit and bid on the variety of artwork offered.
In her remarks, Sue Whitehurst, executive director of Townhall II, reminded everyone that budget cuts are slated to deeply affect social services and urged those attending to help the community through these difficult times.
From there, the art auction was under way under the brisk and lively pace set by Ross Galleries auctioneer Larry Glenn who made good on his claim to entertain and raise funds for Townhall II.
In fact, Glenn sold so many paintings that the crew of volunteers that had been recruited to help re-load unsold art at the end of the auction wasnt needed.
The success of the auction will enable Townhall II to continue its important work on behalf of Portage County residents, according to Karen Barrett, a Townhall II board member and chairman of the advancement committee. Credit for the success of this years Townhall II Auction must first and foremost be given to our generous patrons not only from our own city and county who attended, but those who traveled from Cleveland, Broadview Heights, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, and all over northeast Ohio to participate. Our auction audience is the real reason for Townhall IIs success. Our patrons are committed to the work of Townhall II as well as fine art, Barrett said.
The enthusiastic and cooperative effort was spearheaded by Jay Thomas, Hiram Colleges director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, and included the boards advancement committee along with the agencys auxiliary committee, coordinated by Ruth Simera, planning and development director of Townhall II, Barrett added.
Name recognition in a wide range of artists and subject matter added to the spirited bidding for such items as a signed baseball by Joe DiMaggio accompanied by a photo of Joltin Joe at the plate.
Works of Norman Rockwell and Thomas Kincaid and cartoon cells of Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh added a sense of whimsy to the selection. Works of Marc Chagall, Ansel Adams, Andrew Wyeth and Salvador Dali added traditional sophistication along with the works of newly established artists making a name in their own right.
Adding to the bounty of artwork from Ross Galleries were contributions of artwork from area artists and prizes from area businesses. Patrons also had an opportunity to enter a drawing for other prizes and cash.
Auction items included a romantic weekend for two at Brandywine Inn in the Cuyahoga Valley, a Weekend Country Getaway at Hiram Inn and dinners at Marios and Leopard Restaurant and a gift certificate for Dankorona in Aurora; hayride for 24 at Larrys Stables; a china tea service from City Bank Antiques, tea and confections from Akrons West Point Market and high tea for four at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Cleveland and 14 other special auction items of art.
Townhall II provides Portage County with many services for those in need including drug education, emergency assistance in crisis situations, medical diagnosis and treatment, counseling, community education, and other services dedicated to helping to improve the lives of area residents. In its more than 30 years of existence, Townhall II has served more than 500,000 Portage County residents and their families.