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September 16, 2010

UPB art auction goes Hollywood

Starlets and paparazzi will greet patrons on the red carpet this Saturday at Pitt-Bradford’s annual gala art auction.

This year’s Hollywood-themed event is set for 6:30 p.m. in Blaisdell Hall. Proceeds from the evening benefit the Pitt-Bradford Arts Endowment Fund, which supports fine and performing arts on campus.

More than 40 items will be up for bid in silent and live auctions. Some are featured online at

UPB master gardener Bob Harris is donating a terrarium he built from rare woods for the auction.

UPB master gardener Bob Harris is donating a terrarium he built from rare woods for the auction.

Items include travel packages such as a weekend in Boston at the Marriott’s Custom House; a weekend in Ellicottville, N.Y., and a Bedford Springs resort and spa package. Other items include an  eight-piece set of W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery stag-handled steak knives; a numbered lithograph by folk artist Jane Wooster Scott; a Buffalo Bills-New York Jets football package; collectibles including Baccarat, Murano and Waterford crystal; a kayak, and a terrarium designed and built by UPB master gardener Bob Harris from rare woods.

Although online bidding has closed, Patty Colosimo, UPB assistant director of arts programming said she is happy to place proxy bids for those who cannot attend the event.

In addition to the chance to bid, the evening includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment.

“We try to make it an evening that everyone enjoys. That’s as important a goal as the money we raise,” Colosimo said, noting that the event committee strives to create an evening that will wow guests.

After their Hollywood premiere-styled red-carpet entrance, guests will be treated to classical music and movie themes played by Southern Tier Symphony musicians Julia Tunstall on flute and Emily Tunstall-Frack on cello. The evening will conclude with show tunes and popular music from the Golden Age of Hollywood sung by Lynne Shannon, who will be accompanied by John Kytic on grand piano.

Colosimo said the auction is an important part of fundraising for the arts endowment. Last year’s event raised $23,000. “We’re trying to surpass that this year,” she said.

UPB’s arts endowment is comprised of two funds, said campus President Livingston Alexander: the Fine and Communication Arts Fund, which was established in 2004, and the Richard S. and Pamela A. Johnson Endowed Fund for the Arts, established in 2005. Combined, the two funds stand at approximately $305,000.

Both support arts programming, although the Johnson fund also may be used for scholarships benefiting students who are studying interdisciplinary arts (including theatre, music and fine arts) at Pitt-Bradford.

“The aspiration is that those two funds will total $1 million,” Alexander said. No . has been set for completion of that goal.

He noted that the Fine and Communication Arts Fund was established as Pitt-Bradford was completing its new performing arts center in Blaisdell Hall, with the recognition that an endowment was needed to support the arts in that venue. Money raised in this year’s auction will be added to that fund, Alexander said.

“Our dream of having quality arts programming for the campus, for the community and for the region is really coming into reality,” Alexander said. Increasing the endowment ensures the continuation and possible expansion of programming such as UPB’s curriculum-based Spectrum series, which features visual, literary and performing arts chosen by faculty; the Prism series, which features national productions (including the upcoming national touring company production of “The Diary of Anne Frank” in October) and the Kaleidoscope matinee series for K-12 students.

“The auction is a very exciting, fun event,” Alexander said. “The community looks forward to it each year.”

Tickets for the auction are $65 and must be purchased in advance by calling Patty Colosimo, UPB assistant director of arts programming, at 814/362-5155.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 43 Issue 2

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