Aug 4, 2020
Goodwell, Okla. — The 19th annual Paul Farrell Memorial Art Auction happened Friday, March 1st with gusto, bringing in right around $50,000. Oklahoma Panhandle State University Art Department hosted the event at Pickle Creek Event center, complete with a steak dinner, live music, and silent and live auctions.
Panhandle State President Dr. Tim Faltyn commented, “the community support for our art department is inspiring. The national trend is to eliminate art departments because of cost, low enrollment and low graduate production. Community support like we see with the auction helps us to justify the significant investment we make in the arts. Personally, I believe that life is made better by art. We have quite a way to go, but are moving in the right direction to make our art department sustainable; the key for us is to keep growing enrollment and graduates.”
The annual event started as a discussion among faculty and students many years ago. A local man and very talented artist named Paul Farrell had been painting, doing sculptures, and woodwork before being diagnosed with melanoma in one of his eyes. He ended up losing an eye and his wife encouraged him to take some courses at Panhandle State in an effort to regain some depth perception, a key tool for artists. He began taking classes and in his own quiet way would impart tidbits of wisdom to the students he was around. When he passed, a group of the students that had come to dearly love him gathered together and organized the Auction in his memory.
The auction originally featured artwork from faculty and students at Panhandle State and has transformed into featuring the artwork of those students who graduate and want to continue to contribute to the event. Each year, a wide variety of work is submitted to a jury for the opportunity to be selected as an auction item. Pieces range from drawing and painting to photography, sculpture, ceramics, and encaustics. This year, the auction had 55 items up for sale. Additional items were available through the silent auction, an opportunity for younger, up and coming artists to display their work, and for others to donate smaller pieces.
The highest selling piece “Buffalo Vessel” by Brent Shoulders was a ceramic vase with a black walnut lid and sculpted buffalo, and a steel base. The piece brought in a bid of $2,000. The money raised at the auction is split with 50 percent going to the artists and the other 50 percent is placed in various scholarships, awards, and departmental equipment expenses.
Brent Shoulders, in his first year as the head of the art department, stated, “this year’s auction was a tremendous blessing to the art department’s ability to recruit the highest quality, most talented art students in the region. Once again, our amazing community pulled together to support our scholarship fundraising cause as well as provide some of the best experiences for our students. It is amazing to see how far the auction has come along in the past 19 years, and we look forward to having a blowout at next year’s auction, marking our 20th year! We can’t do what we do without the help, the support, and the generosity of our patrons! Thank you all for helping us change the trajectory of so many lives.”
For more information about the Paul Farrell Memorial Art Auction, find us on Facebook. To see the inner workings of the department, follow Panhandle State Art on Twitter and Instagram.
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