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Sport a black tie to raise some green
Quinlan gala, preview party raise funds for arts programs
"Pears & Apples II," an oil painting by Linda Dragonette is on display at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center for the annual Gala Art Auction. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Quinlan fundraisers

Gala Art Auction preview party

When: 5:30 p.m. March 1

Where: Quinlan Visual Arts Center, 514 Green St. NE, Gainesville

How much: $15 per person

34th Annual Gala Art Auction

What: Black tie event with live and silent auction

When: 6:30 p.m. March 3

How much: $125 per person, must RSVP

Contact: 770-536-2575

It isn't everyday that art connoisseurs get the opportunity to acquire a new, favorite piece while helping out a good cause, but they'll get to do just that this week at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center.

The center at 514 Green St. NE in Gainesville will hold its 34th Annual Gala Art Auction at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The black-tie event will feature a live and silent auction.

Admission is $125 per person; attendees are required to RSVP before Saturday.

"We pride ourselves on having a really elegant, black-tie event, but we also take pride in hearing people say how much fun they have every year," said Amanda McClure, Quinlan's executive director.

"It's a great opportunity to get all dressed up, have fun and to support a good cause."

The auctions includes 200 different items from artists all over Northeast Georgia.

"We have silent auction items in five galleries and the live auction will be in the main space. We have items at every price point," McClure said.

"We have some really lovely, large framed paintings that have a (higher) retail value, but we also have smaller pieces like photographs, wood turns, ceramic pieces, silk scarves and jewelry.

"We're also doing a couple of trips this year and we have a few golf packages as well, so it's a nice variety."

If black-tie galas aren't your thing, you can still support the Quinlan's "primary fundraising initiative."

"Our big, preview party night started out as an opportunity to preview what we had coming up at the gala, but it's grown to include live entertainment," McClure said.

"It's a more casual atmosphere than the gala, so if we have patrons who don't want to get all dolled up, they can still support us."

The preview party begins at 5:30 p.m. today. Tickets are $15 per person. In addition to "mellow jazz guitar," the price also includes pizza and salad.

"We're going to open the silent auction at that time, too," McClure said.

"It doesn't finalize until Saturday night, but if patrons aren't coming back for the gala, they can leave their top bid with us."

The money raised during the auctions will go directly into supporting Quinlan programs, including classes, exhibitions and community outreach.

Although the Quinlan's initiatives are designed to support artists in the Northeast Georgia community, McClure says that the support the artists have shown the center has been amazing.

"We have a really great community of artists. We offer them the opportunity to either donate pieces for the auction and then take a commission, or to make a 100 percent donation where all of the proceeds goes to the center," McClure said.

"Out of 200 individual pieces, more than half were 100 percent donations. That's the biggest donation we've seen. The artist support gives me chills."