From art to the dinner table

About 45 locals will soon have new pieces of art to hang in their homes — and many others will have food on their tables — thanks to an art auction that raised $860 for the Ashland Emergency Food Bank.

The second annual Art For A Cause silent auction brought in double the amount of money raised last year, said Carolyn Tucker, organizer of the event.

"The goal was to double it and we did that," she said. "It's wonderful to give back to the community who has helped you so many different ways."

Two years ago, before she enrolled in Southern Oregon University's art program, Tucker, 48, was a food bank recipient struggling to make ends meet. Now, she's using her art and organizing skills to help those in need.

"It amazes me that someone like Caroyln is putting herself through school and has taken her time to do something so wonderful," said Ann Marie Hutson, president of the food bank. "Her concern for the hungry is inspiring."

During the two bidding events for Art For A Cause, held April 3 at MAda Shell Gallery downtown and Thursday at Southern Oregon University, locals could make offers on the donated artwork. In between, the paintings, prints, pottery and other pieces were displayed at MAda Shell Gallery, owned by City Councilor Eric Navickas and his partner, Amy Godard.

The auction featured about 110 pieces of art, many of them by SOU students, including Tucker.

Besides raising the money for the food bank, the best part of the auction was seeing aspiring artists be recognized — sometimes by their art professors at SOU, Tucker said.

"It was surprising seeing professors come and bid on their students' work," she said. "I think the students felt honored that and excited to be able to show their work in a gallery."

A 3-D "heart vessel" art piece, created by Talent artist India Wise, was auctioned for the highest price at $80.

"Some of these pieces of art were a real steal," said Janelle Wilson, director of SOU's Queer Resource Center, who also helped organize the event.

Because the minimum bids for many of the pieces were low, bidding wars erupted Thursday night, with people placing bids until the very end of the auction, at 7 p.m.

"I watched people going back and forth trying to decide what to bid on and watching other peoples' bids," Tucker said. "It was a real competition for some of the people."

And Tucker wouldn't mind if the competition — to raise money for the food bank — continued, she said.

"I'd like to challenge someone from the community to match what we raised," she said.

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or

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