Chocolate Auction raises necessary funds for scholarships
The Lumberyard Arts Center is downtown Baldwin City was the place to be Sunday for anyone with a chocolat craving.
The renovated historic building was the locale for the Baldwin Community Arts Council’s 23rd annual Chocolate Auction. There were chocolate cakes, cupcakes, cookies and other desserts. Of course, there was also a variety of artwork donated from local artists for the annual fundraiser.
“We had some wonderful pieces this year as we always do,” BCAC President Tom Wilson said. “The bakers and the artists both came through and did a wonderful job.”
Each year, the money raised at the annual Chocolate Auction funds the BCAC’s college scholarships. The BCAC gives four $1,000 scholarships to Baldwin High School graduates.
While the figures aren’t exact, Wilson said Sunday’s event raised about $5,200 before expenses. He is confident the BCAC will have enough to sponsor the scholarships.
“I think we are probably looking pretty good,” Wilson said. “After expenses, I think we will be able to fund our scholarships. That’s always the important thing we are trying to get done.”
The $5,200 figure is down a bit from previous years, but Wilson said there were several factors, including the economy, which might explain the lower dollar total.
“I think we made a little bit more last year,” he said. “I know in past years we’ve made considerably more. One year we had a Tom Russell painting go for $2,000, but we didn’t have any big-ticket items like that this year. Since we were showcasing an artist that meant we didn’t have people come out to buy their art.”
Despite the decrease in dollars, the event’s crowd was large as always. Around 100 people visited the LAC during the silent auction, which lasted approximately two hours Sunday afternoon.
Many of those attendees stayed for the live auction, which featured the larger ticket items, such as the artwork and larger desserts. Auctioneer Lester Edgecomb kept the event running smoothly.
“We had a great event,” Wilson said. “I feel very good about the turnout. With limited space in there, I’m not sure how we could have gotten too many more people packed in there. It turned out very well.”
Although space was a concern before the event, Wilson said everyone filled the LAC with no problems. At the auction, he told the attendees that when the back of theater section in the rear of the LAC is finished it would make a great venue for the event. For now, the BCAC must use the front half.
“I think the auctioneer was concerned we wouldn’t have enough space,” Wilson said. “We had a few standing and a few bidding out in the main area. I think it worked out well. I think we had a bit more seating, and it was more organized for the live auction this year.”
This year’s honorees were Don and Ruth Ann Nutt. They have attended the Chocolate Auction almost every year, and they’ve live in Baldwin City for 65 of their 68-year marriage.
The Nutts were honored prior to the live auction. They viewed the event as a success once again.
The Nutts were the first Chocolate Auction honorees who weren’t local artists. While it was a change from the past, Wilson said it opens the door for others to be recognized for their contributions to the local arts community.
“There are many deserving people,” Wilson said. “Since we went this way and honored a patron, it will open up possibilities to do that in the future. I know there are some people who come every year that are deserving.”