Members of the community packed the Gandy Dancer theater on Saturday to show their appreciation and help raise money for art education in Randolph County Schools.
The annual ArtsBank Auction is one of the primary fundraisers for the program that sends professional artists into classrooms throughout the county to teach their skills to students.
"It is all about the kids," ArtsBank Director Bill McWhorter said. "The purpose of this is to serve the children of Randolph County schools."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Anthony Gaynor
Elkins resident Jack Tribble and his wife, Christie, examine a sweater that was one of the numerous items donated for the ArtsBank Auction. The annual event raised close to $16,000 for art education for Randolph County students.
The fundraiser brought in nearly $16,000 for the program. Auction Coordinator Scottie Roberts Weist said the event was a success.
"It was a great party and everyone had a wonderful time," she said.
In addition to providing art education in the public schools, McWhorter said the fundraiser also allows ArtsBank to provide classes at the West Virginia Children's Home and starting this fall at the Mountain Institute.
"This allows us to go beyond our county schools," he said. "We are planning a collaborative with the Mountain Institute this fall. The program goes to every student in Randolph County and we are expanding."
The annual fundraiser featured hundreds of unique creations from are artists that were up for auction.
As the crowd milled around the theater placing silent bids on the items, the Elm Street Alley Cats performed to keep the crowd entertained.
Elkins resident Jim Schoonover said he has been coming to the auction for several years and appreciates the fact that it raises money to keep art education in the county school system.
"It is important for people to know what you can learn when learning or creating art," he said. "It is important in many aspects of life."
Saturday was Randolph County Schools Director of Attendance Lynn Proudfoot first time attending the auction.
She said the program provides an important aspect to the educations students receive.
"It is a great opportunity for our students to get a quality enhancement to their curriculums," she said.
Elkins resident Bob Dunkerly said the auction allows for ArtsBank to bring real life experienced artists to the schools to help provide life long learning for the students.
"It is a grass roots initiative that shows the importance of arts in our community," Dunkerly said.
E. Spinner O'Flaherty was one of several artists to contribute items to the auction. O'flaherty created three hand made candle holders for the event.
"It is just a great way to create a fresh piece of art," he said. "Since I don't have kids in school, this is my way of helping the community."
Randolph County Arts Center Director Beth King was on hand at the auction to support the local art community and the auction.
"It is a very important part of the community," she said of the programs. "It really supplements what the kids get in school for art education."
Elkins Mayor Duke Talbott said the annual auction is a great way for the community to support education.
"The arts and technology are the future of our youth," he said.
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