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The Penticton Art Gallery's "Main Gallery" was packed late Saturday for the facility's most important fundraiser of the year -- an art auction that this year raised in excess of $40,000.
It was the Gallery's 45th annual auction and the first to be held publically since the pre-pandemic year of 2019. The theme this time around was "High Tea," and many dressed for the occasion.
"I'm thrilled with the turnout," said curator and auctioneer Paul Crawford Sunday afternoon, thanking local folks and art connoisseurs for taking the time to stop by the Gallery during what quite likely was the biggest Penticton event weekend (Elvis Festival, Peach City Cruise, among others) in years.
"We sold the majority of our items," said Crawford. "The two Warhols (artist proof prints) combined went for just under $10,000, and a lot of other items did very well.
"After two years of so little happening, this was a great night."
And not every bidder was regional. Julie Callaghan of Bellville, Illinois kept a low profile all night until the item that brought her to the auction came up for bids.
"We're here visiting relatives," she said, "and we were just driving around town and I said, 'There's an art gallery, let's go in.'
"We found out about the auction and I saw this (a stylized rug) and said it's fabulous. I didn’t even look in the program. I just said this is cool. And I knew exactly where it would go in our house."
Ultimately, Callaghan wouldn't be denied. And that's the way it was for much of the night -- determined people quite willing to foil the wants of others by sticking it out to the bitter end of the bidding cycle.
Bench 1775's Eric Liu, sitting front and centre, was one of those bidders. From our calculations, he picked up at least a half-dozen items Saturday night, often by outlasting stiff competition.
For more information on the Penticton Art Gallery, turn here.