‘Art by the Sea’: Arts Center holds gala at Island Country Club

Lance Shearer

Saturday evening, members and supporters of the Marco Island Center for the Arts held their annual gala.

Titled “Celebrate Art by the Sea,” the event filled the dining room at the Island Country Club, and along with painting and visual arts for which the Art Center is known, celebrated the art of giving.

The 180 patrons bid on live auction items including a culinary tour of New Orleans, and a New York entertainment excursion including airfare, show tickets, and accommodations at the Grand Hyatt. The one painting offered in the live auction was painted by Emily James, who with her husband John, the center’s treasurer, went for a winning bid of $5,000.

An additional 19 paintings by Marco Island artists were auctioned off, by well-known names including Inez Hudson, Jo-Ann Sanborn, Betty Newman, Edythe Newbourne, Judith Chinski and Karen Swanker. The works of art were joined by auction lots of wine from featured vintner Folktale Winery & Vineyards in Carmel, California, which also provided the sparkling rosé with which each guest was greeted as they entered.

Gala chairman Kimberly Korb Porter presented a painting by Nancy Falciani, just painted during the “wet paint live” event held earlier in the week, to Art Center executive director Hyla Crane, in recognition of her five years running the organization. Crane, in turn, lauded Porter for the vision she brought to the gala, with runners matching the auctioned paintings decorating each table in the ICC dining room, and the enormous amount of work Porter did to pull it all together.

Marco Island attorney Bill Morris served as master of ceremonies, and Kevin Benson of Vero Beach was the evening’s auctioneer. The guests dined on Black Angus beef tenderloin and butterflied jumbo shrimp, after a citrus salad whose arrangement was art in itself, and before a dessert that appeared to be sculpture, with an edible marble chocolate nautilus shell surrounded by multi-colored sorbets.

After the live auction, Crane took the microphone for the “fund a need,” in which supporters gave cash without a prize to bid for. Built in 1980 and added onto in four “chunks,” she said the center’s building needs work, with Hurricane Irma damage revealing additional issues. In addition, she said, “we envision lighting to enhance performances and musical concerts,” modern audio-visual equipment, “in short, a gallery space you can be proud of.”

Next year will mark 50 years since the founding of what was then known as the Art League, incorporated on April 15, 1969, and plans are already in the works.

The Marco Island Center for the Arts has a full slate of shows, concerts, lessons and workshops. For more information, visit the center at 1010 Winterberry Drive, call 239-394-4221, or go online to www.marcoislandart.org.