Auction for the Arts

“Circle of Life” by Jane Sliva

ESCANABA — This year’s May 20 Bonifas Arts Center (BAC) Auction for the Arts will be held at the Terrace Bay Hotel, a more spacious venue, will offer guests more food, games, drinks, and adventures alongside traditional festivities.

The annual auction, with ample opportunities for socializing, “draws the community together,” said Al Hansen, BAC auction committee member, “which I really love.”

A full buffet-style meal, included with the price of a ticket and prepared by the Terrace’s Freshwater Tavern, will feature chicken marsala, assorted vegetables, a dessert bar, and coffee. Guests can purchase drinks created by the Terrace especially for the auction, said Carla Meyer, BAC special events coordinator.

While mingling, guests can try a variety of games, such as spinning the wheel for prizes and trying their luck at a “wine pull,” a can raffle, and a 50/50 drawing, said Meyer.

Artists from throughout the Upper Peninsula have donated works to be auctioned, so guests can view a “wide range” of art, including a Leonard Fieber table created using beaver cuttings, photography by Dave Amis, and stoneware by Victoria Shirley, while also enjoying live music by local performers throughout the evening, Meyer said.

Because varied and high-quality art is donated, auction viewing is “almost like seeing an art show,” Hansen said.

In addition, due to “the generosity of businesses in this area,” those who donated items and services, guests can bid on selections from “favorite local business,” including options not normally available to the general public,” said Meyer.

This year, guests, also, can bid on an array of adventures and “experiences,” including family sets of U.P. State Fair passes, a six-person pass to tour Upper Hand Brewery, a birthday party for 10 at the BAC, an “Italian feast” for 10 prepared by BAC artistic director Pasqua Warstler, and private drumming, pottery, and glass art lessons, said Meyer.

Mark Cowman and Mark Ammel, the comedic duo beloved by many in Players de Noc’s recent “Guys on Ice,” will emcee, said Meyer.

The “much needed” funds from the auction support BAC programming, including classes, artist opportunities, exhibits, and entertainment, said Meyer.

The auction is the “biggest fundraiser of the year, so it’s really important,” said Hansen, and the BAC community greatly appreciates whatever support each person can give.

Doors open at 6 p.m., with the silent auction from 6 to 8:30 p.m., the spring raffle drawing at 8:30 p.m., and the live auction starting at 8:40 p.m., with Jimmy Bruce as auctioneer, Meyer said.

Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door, available at the BAC,, all auction preview events, Pat’s Foods in Gladstone, and Leigh’s Garden Winery. Tickets are limited, so auction-goers are encouraged to buy them in advance, Meyer said.

The auction is made possible, in part, by WLUC TV6, VanAire, and Delta County Credit Union.