Houston’s Ultimate “Buy Local” Art Auction Goes Virtual

Houstonia Magazine, August 28, 2020

After taking a one-year hiatus to focus on the development of a new community center to serve the needs of Near Northside, local nonprofit community builder Avenue is bringing back its mega showcase and sale of local art called Art on the Avenue, known for over 23 years as Houston’s ultimate “buy local” art experience.

With nearly 500 original works from more than 250 local artists, Art on the Avenue has grown to become Houston’s largest silent charity art auction. Not only does each art purchase support Avenue’s mission to build affordable homes and strengthen communities, but it also gives back to Houston’s thriving arts community and the artists who make the event possible.

Because of the pandemic, Avenue had to forgo the lively and eclectic two-night party that usually accompanies this event, but interested bidders can still view the art live and in person during the online auction days—from Sept. 15 to Sept. 19—by visiting the auction gallery during open hours or by appointment at Winter Street Studios (2101 Winter St.).

This year’s Art in the Avenue charity auction will be fully available online, but interested bidders can visit the exhibition during open hours or by appointment, subject to safe social distancing.

“We are thrilled to have the 23rd annual Art on the Avenue return once again to Winter Street Studios, showcasing Houston’s vibrant arts community and supporting Avenue’s work building affordable homes and strengthening communities,” said Mary Lawler, executive director for Avenue. “Art on the Avenue exists because of the immense talent and generosity of our local artists, including more than 70 artists who have participated for more than 10 years. During these trying times, we are thankful to have the community’s support in raising funds that not only power our existing programs and services, but also enable us to provide support and resources to families in need amid a global pandemic.”

Lawler noted that many participating artists graciously donate 100 percent of their art sales to Avenue each year, and Avenue returns over $40,000 of sale proceeds to local artists annually.

Art enthusiasts looking to shop the expansive exhibition and sale online need only register for free through the Art on the Avenue event page. Those wishing to view the art at Winter Street Studios before making their bid can come by during open hours or by appointment by reserving a free ticket online. Arrival times for appointments are staggered in 30-minute intervals to ensure safe social distancing. Both options allow participants to bid online through Handbid and view a special livestream program, which will take place on Saturday, Sept. 19.

The Houston Chronicle’s senior writer and critic for arts and culture, Molly Glentzer, is serving as guest juror for the event, selecting her favorite works for the event’s featured gallery. Glentzer will review all art submissions on the weekend leading up to the event, with those pieces being displayed as a collection in the gallery at Winter Street Studios. The guest juror also selects three works from the exhibition for first, second, and third prize; those winners will be announced during the livestream broadcast.

In 2018, Art on the Avenue raised nearly $250,000 to support Avenue’s mission to build affordable homes and strengthen communities.

Other key figures giving their time and expertise to this effort are Shamsa Mangalji, Honors English teacher at KIPP Connect High School, and Pawan Kapoor, director of asset management at Westmont Hospitality Group, who join Art on the Avenue this year as the event’s honorary chairs.At the last event in 2018, Art on the Avenue raised nearly $250,000 to support Avenue’s efforts to enhance the quality of life for working families in Houston and to promote healthy, vibrant, and economically diverse neighborhoods. To learn more about the valuable impact that Avenue makes for families and neighborhoods in our local Houston community, visit avenuecdc.org.

For Art on the Avenue free registration to view and bid online, or to view artwork in person, visit avenuecdc.org/art-on-the-avenue.

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