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How you can support and celebrate local fine arts at the Quinlan’s upcoming gala
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Ann Goble's oil painting, "Listening," will be featured during the Quinlan Visual Arts Center's 43rd annual gala and fine art auction. Image courtesy the Quinlan Visual Arts Center

Celebrate the local painters, photographers and creative minds who make our lives a shade brighter with the Quinlan Visual Arts Center’s 43rd annual gala and fine art auction.

From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting Monday, March 15, people will be able to drop by the Quinlan, located at 514 Green St. in Gainesville, for free to view around 200 different works from 90 artists, based both locally and across the Southeast. 

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Pedro Fuertes' "Dreams of California" oil painting will be up for bid during the Quinlan Visual Arts Center's 43rd annual gala and fine art auction. Image courtesy the Quinlan Visual Arts Center

Nairika Cornett, the nonprofit’s executive director, said the pieces of artwork in the exhibition will be included in both the gala’s silent and live auctions. Bidding for the free silent auction will begin at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 24, and run until 11:59 p.m. Saturday, March 27. 

Cornett said the Quinlan is also offering an appointment-only day to see the artwork on Sunday, March 21. She said this will allow those uncomfortable with being around others to reserve a time slot for viewing.

The exhibition will close to the public at noon Saturday, March 27. The live auction night will begin online at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 27, beginning with a “virtual entertainment happy hour” that includes music and a meeting with Cornett, several of the Quinlan’s board members and those who have played an instrumental role in the organization. 

The live auction portion of the evening will begin at 7:30 p.m. with a chance for people to bid on 31 different pieces of artwork, which Cornett describes as “collectors’ dreams.”

“We know that people collect work by these artists,” she said. “But, we also want to introduce new artists into both the silent and live auctions because we see great potential and know they will probably become what collectors seek.”

Those who want to join the online live auction event must purchase a ticket on the Quinlan’s website to receive the link. People can pay $25 to view and participate in the live auction at 7:30 p.m.; $125 to watch the pre-live auction entertainment happy hour and live auction, and enter for a chance to win a pottery party for eight with wine and hors d'oeuvres at the Quinlan; or $500 for everything included in the first option, $250 credit for the purchase of any silent of live auction item, the ability to buy live auction items 24 hours before the event, and a home-delivered bottle of “bubbly” with two champagne flutes.

Quinlan Visual Arts Center’s 43rd Annual Gala Fine Art Auction

When: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., March 15-27, exhibition viewing; 5 p.m. March 24, silent auction opens and runs until 11:59 p.m. March 27; 7:30 p.m. March 27, virtual live auction.

Where: Exhibition viewing at Quinlan Visual Arts Center, 514 Green St., Gainesville; Live auction at

How much: Silent auction and exhibition viewing, free; Live auction, $25

More info and other ticket options:
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People will be able to bid on Patrick McGannon's "In a Dream" oil painting during the Quinlan Visual Arts Center's 43rd annual gala and fine art auction. Image courtesy the Quinlan Visual Arts Center

People will be able to view and bid on the silent and live auction items on the Quinlan’s website or by calling the center at 770-536-2757.

Instead of spotlighting one artist this year at the gala, per tradition, Cornett said she decided to open it up to all artists showcasing their work. 

“This being a pandemic year, we felt it would be unfair to celebrate one artist when it is many artists who have literally allowed us to remain sane during this unprecedented time,” she said. “For me, it was very important that this year is the celebration of the artist, which is every artist.”

A few of the artists featured in the gala exhibition include Pedro Fuertes of Atlanta, Ann Goble of Gainesville, Patrick McGannon of Atlanta and Joyce Hornor of Gainesville. Cornett said people can expect to see a range of artwork, including oil and acrylic paintings, as well as photographs.

“We have very representational and realistic still lifes, to contemporary abstracts and everything in-between,” she said. 

All the gala’s proceeds will benefit the 75-year-old nonprofit and its programming. A large portion of the money raised will go toward launching the Quinlan School of Art, which is anticipated to open August 2021. 

Cornett invites people to view the gala’s artwork and support those who continue to bring positivity into a COVID-19 world. 

“Now more than ever, I think the conversation of the importance of the arts should meet its end, especially after this pandemic,” Cornett said. “Whether it’s television, books, radio, visual arts, we’ve all relied on artists to get us through this. They (artists) can at no time, anymore be underplayed in their value and the identity they give us as a people.”

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