On Friday, April 22, 2016 Village Elementary’s PTO sponsored the annual art auction at the Hotel del Coronado. This year’s auction, which was themed “Back to the Beach,” represented a true collaboration among teachers, students, and parent volunteers. Room parents, in conjunction with the classroom teachers, were responsible for ensuring that each class created a work of art to be sold at the auction. Some classes presented one masterpiece while other classes created multiple pieces.
The PTO co-chairs of the art auction, Nicole Ashmore and Abby Lund, kicked off the art auction on February 10, 2016 when they invited parent representatives from each class to Ashmore’s home. Together Ashmore and Lund presented the theme of the auction, and parent volunteers were able to brainstorm with one another as they eagerly shared ideas.
From there each parent volunteer returned to their respective classrooms, working with students to create each piece. The works of art made by students, who ranged in ages from kindergarten through fifth grade, came in a variety of mediums, which included photography, painted canvasses, a painted window, painted blocks, a tapestry, a mobile, pieces of furniture, an owl barn, a decoupage canvas and table, a chalkboard, and even a succulent garden. There were even surf boards and a skateboard beautifully transformed into objects of art! It became evident that Coronado is filled with artistic minds because even though everyone had the same “Back to the Beach” theme, no two projects were alike.
Penny Rothschild, owner of both the Emerald C Gallery as well as its sister gallery, the newly opened Ruby P Gallery, generously opened up the doors of her Emerald C Gallery for a preview day on Sunday, April 17th. Because the actual art auction on April 22nd was strictly an adults only function, Ashmore and Lund were excited for the opportunity to have a preview day, where students could come visit with their families to not only see their own classes’ artwork, but also have a chance to admire the artwork created by other classes as well. Rothschild said, “We opened up the Emerald C Gallery so we could showcase Village Elementary’s art. It gives the children an opportunity to see their art in a professional environment in a gallery.” She added that she was hopeful that the preview would also encourage ticket sales, saying that “those people who might not have purchased their tickets yet could see the great art that would be available for purchase.” Rothschild was eager to let students and parents know that her gallery will be offering weekly art camps this summer for kids ages five through fourteen.
Village Elementary students Mary Margaret Lund and her sister Emma attended the preview day with their grandmother and great grandmother. Their grandmother, Joan Howell, said of the preview, “It’s wonderful to see it in a gallery. As far as the children are concerned, it gives it more validity and strength, and it’s fun to be able to share it in such an intimate setting.” Their great grandmother Peggy Benton added, “Oh, I think it’s wonderful! The children are doing such nice things, and it’s a nice reflection on their teachers too.”
What did the owner of Emerald C Gallery have to say about the students’ creations? Rothschild offered nothing but praise for Village Elementary’s art auction projects. She offered, “I was really surprised with the level of talent that showed up this year!” She gushed as she described the children’s artwork as “over the top, truly,” and added, “The presentation is above and beyond what I ever could have anticipated.” Pretty impressive for a group of elementary school students to receive such high accolades from such a respected community art connoisseur!
After the art auction preview, projects were once again returned to Ashmore’s home, which had turned into a mini art gallery as it became the holding area for Village Elementary’s masterpieces. On Thursday, April 21st she and Lund were joined by over ten parent volunteers who gently helped transport all of the projects to the Hotel del Coronado’s Carousel Room. From there projects were arranged by grade around the circular room.
As volunteers helped set up for the auction, many of the volunteers were pleased to note that on the placards which described each work of art, that Ashmore and Lund had not only displayed the teacher’s name and grade, but also included the name(s) of the volunteer(s) that helped make each class’ masterpiece. It was such a thoughtful detail for them to acknowledge the work of the volunteers as well, and many of those present, who helped create the artwork in addition to helping to set up the auction, were pleasantly surprised by the gesture, which made them feel appreciated. Additionally there was a sign at the auction thanking all of the volunteers along with tokens of appreciation.
On the night of the auction, the room was filled with parents as well as some of Village Elementary’s staff, including Principal Whitney DeSantis and Assistant Principal Tom Bevilacqua. DeSantis said, “The art is bigger and better and more beautiful than it’s ever been, and I just feel lucky to be part of it for another year.”
PTO President Inge Cornejo, who was also in attendance, said, “It’s always so fun to see how creative the kids can be and how beautiful the art turns out.” PTO Vice President Rebecca Patrick exclaimed, “This is the event that I wait for all year long! It’s amazing!”
Cyndi Fuhrmann, a parent volunteer of the art program Meet the Masters, was there with information about the art program adopted by the school. Meet the Masters, which began in the fall of the 2015-2016 school year, features 35 artist units. It entails “historical, culturally diverse, standards-based art lessons to inspire young artists.”
Furhmann showcased works of art that Village Elementary’s students had created with her following the Meet the Masters curriculum. She said, “I love teaching the Meet the Masters art lessons in my daughter’s first grade class at Village. The kids learn a bit of history about an artist. So far we have learned about Monet, Van Gogh, Cassatt, and Picasso. Then they create artwork inspired by that artist. Lessons are really easy to follow using the program, and the kids are so proud of their masterpieces!”
While most of the projects were sold via silent auction, a few of the pieces were featured as live auction items. Included in the live auction were a surfboard that had the Hotel del Coronado painted on it and a glass window with the iconic hotel painted on it too. A Coronado themed corn hole game and a beautifully vibrant painting entitled “It Takes a Village” were also part of the live auction. Principal DeSantis greeted guests, and then turned the microphone over to Ashmore’s husband Casey, who served as auctioneer during the live auction portion of the evening.
Coronado’s own Daron Case donated one of his pieces to be auctioned, a photograph transferred to a canvas. A few other of the Crown City’s finest residents also donated baskets and items to be part of the silent auction. The generosity of the Coronado community was in full swing.
When all was said and done, the art auction was not only an extremely fun event, it netted $17,000! Co-chairs Nicole Ashmore and Abby Lund said, “We were delighted by the level of involvement and support from so many families. 260 tickets were sold, and guests who attended saw beautiful and original artwork from our students. As well, 60 parents and teachers played an active role, whether helping guide art projects or supporting in other ways. We had 100% participation from the classes at Village, and they outdid themselves in the time and creativity put into each project. It was wonderful to see the community support our students in this effort.” They continued by saying, “Thank you to everyone who helped and attended, and for making the event a success.”