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Collaboration leads to silent auction at Thunder Bay Theatre

April 21, 2012
By DIANE SPEER - News Lifestyles Editor , The Alpena News

Northeast Michigan serves as home to more than its fair share of artists. Now, through a collaborative effort of the Association of Lifelong Learners and Thunder Bay Theatre, the public gets a chance to own a piece of artwork by one of these many talented artists.

Nearly 40 different artists donated pieces for a silent auction that begins today and extends through the end of Thunder Bay Theatre's upcoming production, "Steel Magnolias." All of the art currently is on display in the lobby of TBT. It is unified in theme, reflecting either magnolias, blooms, spring or steel in concept or materials used.

The auction is a joint effort of both TBT and ALL, which will share equally in the proceeds from the sale of the artworks.

Article Photos

News Photo by Diane Speer
Dick Bremer, a Thunder Bay Theatre board of directors member, and Jodene Compton, president of the Association of Lifelong Learners, display just a few of the 40 art items that are going up for bid in a “Steel Magnolias Bloom in Spring” silent auction that will benefit both TBT and ALL.

"Both of our organizations wanted to let the community know more about us," said ALL President Jodene Compton. "We're concerned with education and we felt that our collaboration would be a good thing for both."

According to TBT board member Dick Bremer, the silent auction grew out of a number of other joint activities that ALL and the theatre planned around "Steel Magnolias," including a movie viewing and discussion, an afternoon spent with TBT's current artistic director and cast, and a special opening night theatre outing for ALL members.

"From TBT's perspective, a lot of people don't know we exist," Bremer said. "It's the same for ALL. We thought that it serves us both to get both involved. The art auction really was added as an after thought."

Compton and Bremer weren't sure what to expect in the way of donations once they put the word out to the local art community. Both were extremely gratified by the generous response from the artists.

"The pieces are really gallery quality, because the people who donated are showing at area galleries or else have their own gallery," Compton said. "Some of the artists are here in town at the Thunder Bay Arts Council Gallery or Art in the Loft's gallery and some are from Dragonfly Art Gallery in Harrisville. Many of the Northeast Michigan Artists Guild members are participating, and there are also some artists from Howell, Centerline and Detroit who love Alpena and wanted to help."

The 40 pieces going up for bid reflect a variety of different media, including photography, oil painting, acrylics, paper mache, digital art, steel, pottery, textiles and stained glass.

"It's an amazing range of artworks," said Bremer, who constructed special shelving at the theatre to display the pieces. "We really want to make sure the artists are recognized."

Toward that end, the artists have been encouraged to display their business cards or a brief bio by their individual pieces so that visitors to the theatre can learn more about them. The public is invited to stop in, view the artworks and bid on them starting today at noon. Beginning minimum bids range from as little as $10 up to $100.

Regular theatre lobby hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and prior to each performance of "Steel Magnolias." The show runs April 26-29 and May 3-6. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Bids also are being accepted online at TBT's website,, where photographs of each piece also may be seen. For more information, contact the theatre at 354-2267.



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