East Penn Press

Sunday, July 5, 2020
CONTRIBUTED IMAGEWalter Emerson Baum, “The Mill” (oil, 20 in. x 24 in.) CONTRIBUTED IMAGEWalter Emerson Baum, “The Mill” (oil, 20 in. x 24 in.)
Coronavirus impact: The Baum School of Art postpones 35th auction Coronavirus impact: The Baum School of Art postpones 35th auction

Coronavirus impact: The Baum School of Art postpones 35th auction

Thursday, May 7, 2020 by PAUL WILLISTEIN pwillistein@tnonline.com in Focus

COVID-19 has again canceled conviviality.

The Baum School of Art is postponing its 35th Annual Art Auction, one of the most popular events in the Lehigh Valley cultural landscape, because of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Baum school officials say that although this year’s May 16 event will not be held, they plan to hold the auction “virtually,” so that art enthusiasts may bid online from their homes.

“Although we are saddened that we will not be able to hold this fun, energetic night, filled with art in person, we are excited for the virtual version of the event that has the possibility to reach even more art patrons and collectors,” Baum School of Art Executive Director Shannon Fugate said in a May 6 press release.

“It is our hope that we will be able to hold our 35th Annual Art Auction at the end of June. This fundraiser is not only important for The Baum School of Art, but also for the over 50 local artists who sell their work in this auction,” said Fugate.

The Baum auction is one of the glittering lights on the Lehigh Valley fundraiser circuit, attracting hundreds of art devotees to the school’s center city location for an evening of frivolity and fine art.

Last year, the Baum art auction included a silent auction of more than 200 pieces of art displayed in the David E. Rodale and Rodale Family Galleries. Attendees enjoyed a buffet dinner from Catering by Karen Hunter in the Fowler Community Room. Auctioneer Boris Wainio held forth at the live auction with more than 100 pieces of art up for bid.

Baum officials are considering dates in early summer for a virtual auction, pending the easing of coronavirus restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Laurie Siegfried, Baum School of Art Director of Operations and Marketing, said in the press release that, with respect to guidelines for six-feet of social distancing and gatherings limited to no more than 10, “The Baum staff needs to be able to safely organize artwork drop-off from local artists, as well as curbside pickup of purchases.”

The school is working with Catering by Karen Hunter for curbside pick-up dinners for those who want to partake of “the full auction experience.”

Baum School officials say they will continue to “closely monitor the status of COVID-19 and announce any changes to these plans.”

The Baum School has turned to the virtual world in order to stay connected with the arts community. The Baum School has a YouTube channel and posts information and visuals on social media. The school has an online instructional video series, “Artist-In-Your-Residence.”

School officials note, “As for many cultural organizations, nonprofits and small businesses, this pandemic is a financial strain on our school. Please visit our website for ways to help. Make a donation, buy a gift certificate, register for summer camp, follow us on social media. Anything is appreciated and helpful.”

The Baum School of Art is a community visual arts school dedicated to enriching lives through arts education. The school is committed to providing instruction, guidance and encouragement for children, teens and adults who wish to reach their full potential through the study of the visual arts.

The school celebrates diversity and welcomes all community members, regardless of gender, social status, race, or beliefs.

In 2018-2019, The Baum School of Art served more than 4,200 students through tuition and community outreach programs on-site at the school and off-site.

The school holds approximately 350 classes in drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry and metalsmithing, fashion design and construction, photography, graphic design, illustration and more.

The Baum School’s David E. Rodale and Rodale Family Galleries holds more than 12 gallery exhibitions annually of regional, national and international artists, as well as student work and juried exhibitions.

Information: www.baumschool.org