Collector's Auction Brings FC One Step Closer to Building Ownership

On Friday, February 22, the Florida Craftsmen's Collector's Auction was held to benefit the statewide organization's Capital Campaign effort to purchase the Renaissance Building, our headquarters for the past almost-seven years. The Collector's Auction evolved as artists would come into the gallery and donate a substantial piece of work, or ship artwork to us in support of this important campaign, explaining their belief in the project but realizing their inability to donate cash. Thus, the auction provided a vehicle for artists statewide and many national artists who had worked with FC in past years could contribute. Held at the St. Petersburg Clay Company's newly renovated facility, the 1926 Seaboard Coastline Freight Depot, 75 fine contemporary craft and art objects donated by regional, national and international artists were featured in this live auction event. The evening, generously sponsored by Richard and Helen Minck, was a complete success from beginning to end, helping to raise over $40,000.

More than 200 people showed up from near and far for this exciting evening (despite poor weather!) complete with candlelit bar, a beautiful staging area and a terrific preview of the Clay Company's raw yet incredible new space (just prior to rented studio spaces being filled and kilns completely finished). Guest auctioneers Bob Eisenstaedt and Andy Maass kept the night rolling along, entertaining guests with Bob's fast paced auctioning schtick and Andy's expertise and eloquent descriptions of each item. Another highlight of the evening was the hors d'oeuvres and croquembouche (no doubt the French word for decadent tower of cream puffs and caramelized sugar) served up by restauranteur Emmanuel Roux. If you have not had the chance to do so already, we highly recommend dining in one of Emmanuel's downtown St. Petersburg restaurants -- Redwoods, Haiku Sushi, or The Garden. Fancy's also provided elegant desserts with lots of help from Lisa Everett, which was very much appreciated.
So many people did so much work to make the evening run smoothly, allowing every guest to enjoy themselves while taking in the great surroundings simultaneously. Florida Craftsmen is deeply indebted to Stan Cowan, Russ-Gustafson Hilton and Charlie Parker, partners of the St. Pete Clay Company, for providing the fabulous, unique, "almost-complete" space at their brand new home in the train station for the auction. Each of you have much to be proud of and we all wish you the best of luck. The Collector's Auction Committee also put in many, many hours and effort , for which we are very grateful. Our applause to Committee Chair Mary Anna Murphy, graphic designer Bill Adams, Lisa Everett, Russ Gustafson-Hilton, Kathryn Howd, Mary Klein, and Marilyn Mars. All FC staff was also deeply involved, especially Matt Kornfeld who laboriously transferred artworks large, small and heavy to and from the Train Station and elaborately set up a beautiful display of auction items within the auction space. Our website designer, Anne Barca, with assistance from Bill Adams, was instrumental in making sure all the pieces of artwork were featured on the website for collectors around the state to call in proxy bids ahead of time. Thank you both for the very hard work and dedicated hours of time! To the audience's delight and surprise, Pete Shepherd baked and contributed his amazing and infamous "Chocolate Forest Cake" (adorned with a chocolate basket filled with fresh berries, hand-painted dark and milk chocolate leaves, and topped off with meringue mushrooms!), which created a bidding frenzy - bringing in $200!!! Thanks, Pete -- our mouths are still watering just thinking about it. Special thanks go to USF St. Petersburg for their sponsorship of the Auction Preview Night held on February 21st , and for the additional support we received for the Collector's Auction from Seabreeze Associates of the Bay Area, Extra! Extra! Graphics, Jones Soda, Anastasia's, A Taste for Wine, Bayprint, and The Tavern at Bayboro. Extra special thanks go out to Richard and Helen Minck for their generous sponsorship and support of Florida Craftsmen, making this delightful evening possible.

The evening would not have run so smoothly without the incredible help we received from a long list of dedicated volunteers, organized by Mary Klein (thank you, Mary!!). The list includes our sumptuous "Vanna Whites", our bartenders, security, ticket takers, packers, runners, drink servers, parking attendants, clean-up crew - you name it! Volunteers are the foundation of this organization and we are grateful for everything you do for us:

Diane Arthur
Anne Barca
Carol Berends
David Bewley
Walt Blenner
Tom Block
K.C. Clark
Doris Conner
Jim Cowan
Kristi Crowell
Virginia England
Lori Ermatinger
Melissa Escribano
Sue Froemming
Jeri Marie Gammage
Cheryl Ganster
Kelly Garrett
Rick Gill
Debbie Graham
Johnnie Guest
Kathy Gustafson-Hilton
Lorissa Hallenbec k
Marilyn Hett
Delores Hilgert
Dave Hill
Art Keeble
Martha Kehm
Trish Kelly
Mary Klein
Jen Kornfeld
Matt Kornfeld
Renee Lassus
Allen Loyd
Vince Mancuso
Sean Manning
Marilyn Mars
Bob Marsh
Deanna McFarland
Candace McLean
Melissa Meisner
B.J. Miller
Regina Morrissey
Meredith Muller
Mary Pearl Murphy
Mike Murphy
Pete Shepherd
Mary Ellen Shotto
Lisa Spencer
Robin Stroup
Bob Tuegel
David Verhine
Kristin Verhine
Mark Winn

Extra special thanks to every artist near and far and to collectors and gallery owners also donating works that generously contributed to this very important endeavor. Each of you have won our hearts and will be recognized as contributors to Florida Craftsmen's Renaissance Building Campaign:

Rudy Autio
Bruce Baker
Baisden Gallery, Tampa
Susan Banks
Mary Bero
Sandra Blain
Frank Boyden
Rocky Bridges
Laura Militzer Bryant
Christian Burchard
Robert Calvo
Nick Cave
Thomas Coleman
Frank Colson
Val Cushing
Robert Ebendorf
Erman (Juan Gonzalez)
Christine Federighi
Sharon & David Fithian
Stephen J. Fox
Suzan Friedland
John Garrett
Rebecca Gifford
Susan Gott
Gabrielle Gould
Russ Gustafson-Hilton
Robert Hargrave
Mark Hartley
Lindly Haunani
Kristin Holeman
Loyd Jones
Kevin Kichar
Jack King
Mary Klein
Gyongy Laky
Tim Ludwig
Marilyn Lysohir
John Mascoll
Tom McCarthy
Duncan McClellan
Nancy Merritt
Ron Meyers
James Michaels
Elizabeth Mitchell
Kate Shakeshaft Murray
Lenn Neff
Lesley Nolan
Phil Parker
John Penrod
Don Reitz
Sang Roberson
Harvey Sadow
Vincent Sansone
Sunny Schurr
Joyce Scott
Bonnie Seeman
Mindy Shrago
Celeste Simon
Barbara Sorensen
Margaret Steward
Akiko Sugiyama
Angelika Traylor
Pier Voulkos
Karen & Don Walker
Mika Watanabe
Kathleen Wilcox
Judi Wood
Jan Wunsch
Jean Yao