Local artists give preview of upcoming Rain auction

Monday, October 15, 2007 | 8:58 p.m. CDT; updated 3:33 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

COLUMBIA — Sipping wine and enjoying the light sounds of jazz, guests at Teller’s Bar and Gallery on Monday evening had a chance to preview the work of local artists, all in the name of helping others.

Rain, an nonprofit organization serving mid-Missourians with HIV, hepatitis and other sexually transmitted diseases, held the reception in preparation for one of the organization’s biggest fundraisers, the Wine, Art and Antiquities Auction that will take place in November.

The reception featured art that will be auctioned at the event to be held at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at MU’s Reynolds Alumni Center. Some pieces from contributing artists were also available for purchase at the reception Monday.

Cale Mitchell, Rain’s executive assistant, said the preview is a unique chance to generate interest about the event and thank local artists for their contribution.

“We have some auction pieces people can look at in the hopes of generating interest,” Mitchell said. “This is our chance to give the artists some exposure and a way for us to thank them.”

The art to be auctioned off is solely from artists who have either contributed artwork before or heard about the event through other artists. All proceeds from the auction will benefit Rain.

“Local artists are really good at talking up the event to gain interest from other artists,” Mindy Duncan, Rain’s executive director, said.

Art is not the only element that will captivate auction attendees. Guests will also have the opportunity to taste highly sought-after bottles of wine from local distributors and bottles contributed from Les Bourgeois.

Mark Farnen, a partner with Strategists LLC, has been working on the public relations side of the event and said it’s important to give possible buyers the proper time to prepare for November auction.

“Buying art can be a huge investment,” Farnen said. “This is a way we can give people a chance to look at what they can bid on at the Wine and Art auction and have some time to think about their decision before then.”

Rain offers medical services, case management and housing in mid-Missouri. The organization also provides community-based rental assistance to 80 to 100 people. The organization is in the process of building new rental units on Garth Avenue and Worley Street, set to open in June 2008.

November’s event will be Rain’s 13th Wine, Art and Antiquities auction. Past galas have raised between $40,000 and $50,000 each, Duncan said.

“It’s hard to know how much we’ll raise,” Duncan said, “but obviously we hope we raise above and beyond what we’ve done in the past.”

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