Chocolate Auction: ‘Alice Ann would have loved it’
Alice Ann's auction was awesome.
Sunday's 17th annual Chocolate Auction, staged by the Baldwin Community Arts Council, was dedicated to the memory of the late Alice Ann Callahan-Russell, who started the auction in 1988 and was instrumental in forming the BCAC. She died in April, but her legacy lives on as evident by the auction which totaled a record-breaking $9,036.
"Really? That's great," said Tom Russell, Alice Ann's husband, when told of the record fund-raiser. "I'm glad to hear that. I'm sure it had a lot to do with Alice Ann. I think that was the motivation behind it all, with everyone showing their memorium.
"It's a great thing, the chocolate auction," said Russell. "They've always made at least $1,000 since it was started. I doubt they'll top that ($9,036) in a long time. What they do is great."
Last year's auction set the standard at $6,000, but it didn't stand up to this year's version were 130 bidders put their money where their mouths were. Alice Ann's sisters, Mary Jane Chubb and Charlene Potter, were instrumental with their various chocolate goodies and Russell put up a painting from his show that was the highest bidded item at $2,000. It was bought by Don Nutt.
"We couldn't have been happier with it," Potter said of the auction. "It was a great crowd, a generous crowd. I loved the art work.
"I think everyone loved it. I kept saying, 'Alice Ann would have loved it.' It was a great day," she said.
BCAC Vice President Ande Parks, who was chairman of this year's auction, was extremely pleased with how it all turned out.
"By just about any standard, this year's auction was standout event," said Parks. "The BCAC board felt it was important to honor one of Baldwin's great artistic spirits in Alice Ann, and the community obviously agreed. We were fortunate to have so many members of her family in attendance, which truly made the day a special occasion.
"It's important for us to remember people who have really made a difference in our lives in Baldwin, and I think this year's auction did just that," he said. "Of course, the money raised will help us carry on Alice Ann's legacy in a more tangible way."
BCAC President Christy Carlisle, who was instrumental in putting the event together and also gave a tribute to Alice Ann and the family prior to the auction starting, was thrilled with the turnout and the tribute.
"It was a great success," said Carlisle. "We especially appreciate the Alice Ann Callahan-Russell family for not only sharing their family and their personal lives with us, but their donations to the Chocolate Auction. They went over and above what we could imagine.
"It was just a record-breaking year all the way around," she said. "The bids were higher than ever, the chocolate delicacies were wonderful and the art work was better than ever. We also appreciate the turnout up against the Super Bowl Sunday. As usual, the community showed it camaraderie and support of the arts. On behalf of the board, I'd like to thank everybody. Now I'm going to take a nap."
The fund-raiser annually is used to provide scholarships to Baldwin High School students continuing their education in art in college. The scholarship has been renamed in honor of Alice Ann. There are other projects by the BCAC that benefit from the proceeds.
"Absolutely," said Carlisle of the money going back into the community, including funding of art programs in the elementary schools. "We will have a nice fund for this year's Alice Ann Callahan-Russell continuing education scholarship. We also have scholarships for Broadway at Baker and other projects."
Another new twist for this year was that half of the proceeds from Russell's painting, $1,000, will go to the Lumberyard Arts Center Project which will refurbish the downtown location into a center for all arts. It is a separate entity from the BCAC, although the BCAC has made sizable donations to the project.
"On behalf of the Lumberyard Arts Center Project, we are grateful and pleased by the generosity of Tom, Don and the Baldwin Community Arts Council in sharing the proceeds of the sale of Tom's painting with us," said Sandy Cardens, president of the board of directors of the LAC. "We are also excited that Tom has agreed to be a member of the Lumberyard Arts Center's advisory board.
"The arts center will be a place where we can honor the artists and teachers who have carved the path we follow and inspired us to bring a home for the arts to Baldwin City," she said. "Alice Ann Callahan-Russell was just such an inspiration and this gift will be recognized as honoring her memory."