Worthy Causes

Big Art/Design, Big Bucks

If only we’d won the Annie Meyer

By Helyn Trickey March 15, 2009

It’s too soon for a final tally, but last night’s benefit auction for the Oregon College of Art & Craft easily pulled down tens of thousands of dollars for a range of deliciousities, including spectacular art, hand-made jewelry and furniture, Oregon wines, and a seven-night stay at a privately owned apartment in Tuscany. The convention center seemed a cold place to put on such an arty function, but honestly they needed the space—there were 43 items in the live auction alone, plus dozens more in the silent and super-silent auctions.

And this was spectacular stuff. Among my favorites: OCAC faculty member Allen Kinast’s Lathe board mosaic coffee table; Jill Mayberg’s Painting of Horse, Annie Meyer’s Eastern Oregon Landscape, Glenn Clevenger’s Venetian Series XI, and OCAC student Ryan Olea’s Skyscape North West. (I share Olea’s obsession with images of decay.) To see these and more, download the catalog here. The hit of the evening, though, might have been effervescent OCAC President Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson: wearing a vintage strappy dress, she took the stage and sang an a cappella ode to craft, then pulled some notes out of her bosom for her short address to the audience of hundreds. Classic Bonnie, those who know her said.

Auction proceeds go mostly to the school’s scholarship funds and its children’s art programs; some of the children were there, too—we all got shushed away from our roasted chicken and asparagus to listen to a few young students tell the crowd how much the college means to them. Not surprisingly, the dollars flew a little faster after that, and rightly so. Among the big names on hand were Jordan Shnitzer; Dave Chen and Jill Price; Dan Weiden; and Skylab’s Jeff Kovel, who before the event led a private tour of his soon-to-open rooftop restaurant at the Nines hotel; and, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, the widely acclaimed architect Charles Rose, who co-designed—with David Gabriel and Mark Engberg of Portland’s COLAB Architecture and Urban Design (David used to work with Charlie in Cambridge)—the OCAC’s new 15,000-square-foot Drawing/Painting and Photography Studio, which is expected to open in October. (Having Charlie here was a treat for me especially: he and his wife, Pam Moore, are dear old friends.) Charlie had invited his friend Will Bruder, the internationally known Arizona architect who holds the Pietro Belluschi Distinguished Visiting Professorship in Architecture at the University of Oregon. Will and his wife, Louise Roman, were huge fun—Will told an amazing story about landing (and walking away from) a project in Dubai, which made us never want to go to Dubai. Also at our table: Portland Spaces Editor in Chief Randy Gragg and his talented girlfriend Camela Raymond. (By the time the party broke, Randy was already talking about bringing Charlie back for Spaces magazine’s monthly Bright Lights discussion series at Jimmy Mak’s. Have a look at Charlie’s architecture here.)

What did we buy? Me: I spent all my energy picturing paintings on what few walls of mine aren’t made of brick (loft, Pearl). David’s wife, Maura Gabriel, won three stunning necklaces. We thought that was it, but on the way out Charlie surprised us by stopping at the auction pickup window for a slender white gift box, which he handed to Pam. Inside: Blake Van Roekel’s gorgeous Bubble Necklace with Matching Earrings. Pam put the necklace on immediately. A good night for everyone.

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