Arao_ChoralQuarrel_2018 - Paolo Arao
Paolo Arao; “Choral Quarrel,” 2018; Sewn cotton and canvas; 45 x 36 inches; Courtesy of the artist.

Among the many challenges that visual arts organizations now face is how to modify or reimagine the major fundraising events that are the backbone of their fiscal health. This is true for the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, whose fun and highly anticipated annual benefit art auction is always successful in raising both funds and friends.

Of necessity this year’s installment will be different, reflected in its name: Virtual Benefit Art Auction and Concert, whose official dates are October 24-30. The premise remains the same—artwork is for sale and may be purchased via silent auction. But the rules of engagement have shifted.

As always, available artwork may be viewed ahead of time online, beginning October 7 and continuing until the final auction deadline on the 30th. The gallery is also open to see works in person, but viewings must be scheduled by appointment during Bemis’ hours Wednesday-Saturday, 11am-5pm except for Thursdays until 9pm. Members and artists will have special opportunities to preview the auction October 1-3.

Derrick Woods-Morrow; a non-fugitive wish for you as well; for always harbouring a history & always beginning to swell; and then, becoming a squall…afterall, 2019; Archival Piezographic Carbon Print; 36 x 58 inches; Courtesy of the artist.

Similarly, patrons will have be able to “skip the line” anytime and submit a “buy it now” bid at the posted full price. This allows art lovers to secure the object of their desire, as well as support Bemis and the artists at a level that well exceeds break-even.

For those who love the thrill of the chase that competitive bidding represents, the auctioneering commences—albeit online–October 24 at 8:30pm and runs through 10pm on October 30. Registration is a must.

In addition, Bemis promises the reveal of a new logo and branding at its Virtual event roll-out on October 24 at 8pm and a Virtual @ LOW END concert by experimental musician and composer Dan Deacon on October 30 at 8pm.

Bemis’ Virtual Benefit Art Auction and Concert public previewing begins October 7, with a bidding window of October 24-30. The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts is located at 724 S. 12th Street in the Old Market. Open hours are Wednesday-Saturday from 11am-5pm and until 9pm on Thursdays. For more information, call 402/341-7130 or visit for details and registration.


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