Archive for Thursday, February 9, 2006

Annual chocolate auction set to honor Lamberts

February 9, 2006

Art takes center stage Sunday -- along with a heavy dose of chocolate -- when the Baldwin Community Arts Council puts on its 18th annual Chocolate Auction just ahead of Valentine's Day again.

The doors open at 1 p.m. Sunday at Baldwin High School for the usual big crowd of art supporters and chocolate lovers. The fund-raising event helps the BCAC to provide scholarships, classes, numerous art-related events and other items throughout the year.

"The Chocolate Auction is not just a great way for the Baldwin Community Arts Council to raise money for its scholarships and other efforts to support the arts and it's not just a tremendously fun event, it's also a wonderful way to expose our community to all of the wonderful artistic talent that lives here," said Ande Parks, BCAC board member who is chairman of this year's event.

Baldwin's arts community is well known. A big reason for it is Baker University's influence. In recognition of that and the years that Baker President Dan Lambert and his wife, Carolyn, have given in that arena, the BCAC dedicated this year's auction to the Lamberts. Lambert will be stepping down as president after the school year, ending 19 years at the helm.

In typical fashion, Lambert paints with broad strokes when describing how the arts are supported by the entire Baker campus.

"Our role, more than anything, has been to encourage an emphasis on the arts and on culture," said Lambert. "I think that's been our role and responsibility. Others have made it happen, by and large. People in the art department and music department are very careful to make sure every student who comes to campus has opportunities to be engaged.

"We've been fortunate here to be surrounded by people who are far more tuned in to the arts than we have been," he said. "My job has given us an opportunity to be associated with those people."

While Parks, an artist and writer himself, understands Baker's support is widespread, he recognizes that starts at the top.

"We've been fortunate to have someone like Dr. Lambert at Baker's helm, someone who realizes that support of the arts is vital to our local culture," said Parks. "The Arts Council considers itself fortunate that Dr. Lambert and his wife, Carolyn, have agreed to let us express our gratitude in person at this year's event."

And, what an event it is every year. Decked out with all the trimmings for Valentine's Day, there will be plenty of chocolate delicacies, cookies, cakes, brownies, etc., as well as various mediums of art work available for auction goers to bid on.

As always, there will be silent auction tables where bidders will have the chance to capture whatever hits their fancy food wise. That starts at 1 p.m. At about 2 p.m., the live auction begins and will once again be conducted by Lester Edgecomb. The live auction is always popular and brings spirited competition for the right to walk away with some of the best art -- and chocolate creations -- available in Baldwin.

It's all about the community's support of the arts, both in contributions to the auction and bids made there. Lambert is well aware of that.

"We're not the main attraction with this auction or with the art community," said Lambert. "We support it because we believe in it, but lots of people do that."

Yes, they do. Parks can attest to that, as well, on many fronts.

"The donations blow us away every year," he said. "I sit there at the collection table with my jaw on the floor as local chefs and artists bring in their goods -- incredibly beautiful cakes, chocolate works of art, rally, as well as breath taking paintings and other items.

"Baldwin is blessed to have such a rich artistic community and the auction really demonstrates that blessing," said Parks.

Anyone who wants to donate items for the Chocolate Auction can either call Parks at 594-3292 or Christy Carlisle, BCAC president, at 594-3926, or just bring them to the BHS commons area prior to the 1 p.m. start Sunday.

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