Sarasota High School student painting inspires $25,000 winning bid
Sarasota High School junior Sarah Nowicki with her painting, “Regress into a Dream,” which won the record Evening of Excellence auction bid of $25,000 Friday
Sarasota, Florida – March 1, 2010 – His voice was fading, but it came back strong when auctioneer Jimmy Dean announced the winning bid for Regress into a Dream, a striking acrylic painting by Sarasota High School junior Sarah Nowicki. Final bid for the piece was $25,000, setting an all-time record for a single work of student art at the Education Foundation of Sarasota County’s 15th annual Evening of Excellence benefit Friday night.
The winning bid was made by philanthropist Allan H. Weis, the event’s Honorary Chairman. Weis announced plans to donate the piece back to Nowicki’s school to be displayed in her honor.
The event grossed well over $250,000 in cash and in-kind support, including a live auction total of $51,400. Education Foundation executive director Cindy Kaiser and board chairman David Sessions thanked 405 guests for attending and recognized this year’s award-winning high school artists, their parents and their art teachers. Meg Mahoney chaired the 2010 event committee of twenty-eight dedicated volunteers. The event’s theme, IMAGINE, was inspired by one of last year’s student paintings – Figment – by Booker High School’s Tatum Leitch. The evening also featured entertainment by the Riverview High School Center Stage Choir, under the direction of David Verdoni.
Evening of Excellence is both an innovative art program and an established Sarasota social event that raises significant funds each year, benefitting 41,500 students in the public schools through the work of the Education Foundation. The event combines an elegant dinner with a spirited auction that puts the 25 Best of the Best student art works on the auction block. The program has raised more than $1.75 million for Sarasota County’s public schools over the past fifteen years, while raising awareness about the vital role the arts play in learning.
Student art awards of $500 to $2,000 were presented to each of the 22 winning students, three of whom landed two pieces in the top 25. Combining the generosity of art award sponsors with proceeds from the event, over $40,000 in monetary and in-kind donations were awarded to support student artists, the art teachers and high school art departments.
Masterpiece Sponsors included Bank of America, W.G. Mills, Inc., Advanced Network & Services – Allan & Sandy Weis, and Herald-Tribune Media Group. Connoisseur Sponsors were Fawley Bryant Architects, Inc., Harvard Jolly Architecture, Jon F. Swift, Inc., Tandem Construction, and Willis A. Smith Construction, Inc.
Virtuoso Sponsors included Comcast, Jeff and Cindy Kaiser, Norton, Hammersley, Lopez & Skokos P.A., Ringling College of Art and Design, Rob Robinson and Lisa Carlton, SchenkelSchultz Architecture, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, Sutter Roofing, and Willis. Artiste Sponsors were Andrick and Associates, Inc., Engineering Matrix, Inc., Florida Power & Light Co., Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice, Hill, Barth & King LLC + LaGasse Utilities, Inc., Kraft Construction Company, Inc., Matthews Eastmoore Hardy Crauwels & Garcia, P.A., McIntyre Elwell & Strammer General Contractors, Robert W. Baird & Company, SunTrust, and Verizon. U.S. Trust sponsored the Evening of Excellence Juried Art Show reception in January.
Student art awards, scholarships and grants included Bank of America’s Best of Show and Best of School awards. The 2010 Best of Show piece was New Orleans III, a haunting digital photograph by Sarasota High School senior Josh Parenti. Parenti had two winning photographs represented in the auction.
Mariah Marshall, Omar Y. Cooper Artistic Achievement Award Winner
The $2,000 Omar Y. Cooper Artistic Achievement Award was presented to North Port High School junior Mariah Marshall, who also receives a year-long mentorship with an arts professional. The Mary Mills Damon Art Awards and W.G. Mills Student Art Awards were sponsored by W.G. Mills, Inc., who also presented grants to each participating art department. Gerald S. Kaplan sponsored the Nancy Kaplan Art for Today Award in honor of his wife, an artist. The Caroline and Michael Zucker Free Spirit Art Award encourages a young artist to explore new horizons in his or her imagination. The proprietors of Main Street Oyster Bar, a downtown Sarasota restaurant, support artistry and passion through their sponsorship of at least one art award each year. Other student art awards included the Evelyn Bryant Sculpture Award, Helen C. Martin Imagine Forever Award and awards from The Burd Family, Caldwell Trust Company, Lisa Carlton and Rob Robinson, Randy and Karen Crete, Freeman Orthodontics, Friends of the Foundation, Meg Mahoney, and Susan and Philip Morris.
The student artists donate their winning art works, which are then elaborately framed by local galleries that donate their time, materials, and talent. Participating framers include Art & Frame of Sarasota, Collectors Gallery & Framery, The Collectors Wall Fine Art Gallery, Final Touch Frame and Gallery, Frame It Up…, The Galleries at Northgate, Gulf Breeze Framing, Gulf Gate Frame Center, Jessica’s Picture Framing, Karchelle’s Custom Framing and Art Gallery, Kennedy Studios Graphics & Framing, Uptown Framers/Framer of the Arts, and William Hartman Galleries.
The Evening of Excellence volunteer committee headed by Meg Mahoney includes Mina Ajrab, Lisa Beckstein, Cathi Bell, Sherry Burd, Kelly Collins, Christine Cremer, Jackie Cutrone, Tracy Frascone, Chellie Gardiner, Melba Jimenez, Mollie Johnson, Iris Kleiber, Alina Klein, Helen Martin, Cecelia Mills, Alix Morin, Hartley O'Brien, Melissa O'Buch, Janice Piedra, Yen Reed, Dotti Sechrist, Stephanie Shaw, Renee Sleight, Janey Swift, Taylor Tollerton, Anita Zimmerman, and Caroline Zucker. Christine A. Brown is the program director.