Artists gather on Avenue to support affordable housing

The Leader, November 9, 2017                                                                          

Derrick Mitchell, his wife Roslyn Bazzell Mitchell, and their son Derrick Mitchell Jr. attended last years Art on the Avenue. The event starts this Thursday and continues through Saturday, Nov. 11. 

The largest annual art auction in Houston, “Art on the Avenue,” launches Thursday, Nov. 9, from 6-9 p.m. with the preview party at Winter Street.

The impressive show culminates with the auction of the 500-plus original works by local artists on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 6-10 p.m. at the studios. For anyone who loves art or cares about the northside community, this event is a “must-do.” The event offers an unrivaled opportunity to champion both.

With works by more than 250 artists, Art on the Avenue is Houston’s definitive “buy local” fundraiser and supports Avenue, an award-winning nonprofit agency working toward revitalization without displacing the citizens who make the near northside interesting and diverse. Avenue promotes affordable housing in our changing urban landscape.

Participating artists receive about 50 percent of each sale with the remainder going to nonprofit Avenue. Not only do these purchases support affordable homes – each also gives back to Houston’s artists, the people who make the event possible.

What can one expect at the preview? The party will include art-inspired food from near northside culinary artisans such as Fusion Taco, Jenni’s Noodle House and more. Guests will also get a sneak peek at BCK: Kitchen & Cocktail Adventures from the team behind Bosscat Kitchen & Libations set to open in the Heights in 2018.

Because no party is great without adult beverages, this year’s preview includes curated wines, local brews and local musicians to round out the fun. The cost for a ticket is $100 in advance, $125 at the door and includes admission to Saturday’s auction as well.

For the true art collectors, the preview party is an annual no-brainer; not only is it fun, it provides an opportunity to early bid before doors open to the public on Saturday. Tickets for Saturday’s auction cost $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Between 400 and 600 people are expected to attend.

Mark Parthie has been a member of the board of trustees at Avenue for 25 years. As a resident of the Old 6th Ward, he is an art collector and deeply committed to maintaining the cultural fabric of the area, “to keeping the community strong,” he explained. Parthie has been the spearhead of Art on the Avenue since its inception 21 years ago.
“When we first started, there was a fledgling art community in the Heights, and we had about 20 artists,” Parthie remembered with a smile. ”But year after year, the auction kept getting bigger. Today, it’s one of the most anticipated events of the year.”

As anyone who has ever bid at a silent auction knows, to win something “you will die without” requires hovering around the bid sheet to the bitter end, then standing in line to pay for it. Parthie and Avenue have added a new element to relieve the messy process.

“We’ve introduced a mobile silent auction platform called HandBid this year,” Parthie explained. “People can place bids on their smart phones, and the app will alert the buyer if they are out bid in real time. Then they can rebid by phone. When the bidding closes and the piece is won, the app sends an invoice immediately and the buyer can pay over the phone. It’s a remarkable new addition for us.”

Mark Parthie has spent many volunteer hours supporting work of Avenue over the years. What has inspired this active, caring community member?

“There is something wonderful about that moment when a family who never in the world thought they could own a home here, signs the final papers. There is so much joy in it, it moves every time,” Parthie concluded.

Studios located at 2101 Winter Street in the Heights. Tickets are available online and at the door and all are welcome to attend.

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