Gala Silent Auction Offers Enticing Variety

Duke Sundt's 'A Pair To Draw To."

Local sculptor Duke Sundt’s “A Pair To Draw To” will be one of the many items donated for auction at the President’s Gala: Dollars For Scholars April 21.

Las Vegas, N.M. — A enticing variety of items ranging from art pieces from nationally known and local artists to memorable travel lodging are featured in the silent auction for the April 21 President’s Gala: Dollars for Scholars. The approximate retail value of the auction items to date is $40,000.

The gala is a scholarshipfundraiser that will also celebrate Highlands University President Jim Fries’ five-year anniversary

“I want to thank the people of Las Vegas and surrounding areas for their extremely generous donations in support of student scholarships,” said Barbara Perea Casey, who chairs the gala’s silent auction committee. “People in the community are excited about how Jim Fries’ leadership is helping make Highlands a vibrant university. This is also generating interest and support for the gala.”

Perea Casey said the silent auction committee worked tirelessly to request donations. She added that the work of local artists is a highlight of the auction.

“Local artists are so talented and have true passion for the area and their work,” Perea Casey said.

“If you’re an art aficiado or a person who loves to travel this silent auction is for you,” said Sharon Caballero, executive director for the Highlands University Foundation. “The items are being donated by people who love this university and want to help students access a university education.”

Caballero said there are more than 50 items in the silent auction, with something for everyone’s taste and pocketbook. Select items will have a minimum bid because of their high value.

Eight local artists are creating pieces for the gala with a hats and boots theme. Las Vegas painter Kim Reed-Deemer is coordinating the Hats and Boots Art Auction.

“I think the scholarship fundraiser is important because higher education is a profound, life-changing experience,” said Reed-Deemer, who is the first in her family to complete college. “When I heard about the gala, it sounded like such a worthwhile and fun event.”

Reed-Deemer said the hats and boots pieces range from traditional and classical approaches to contemporary mixed media. There are several pieces with a regional flavor that reflect local culture.

For instance, Nacho Jaramillo’s “Vaquero” is a tempura on panel portrait painting of a cowboy wearing a traditional ranchero hat. Meredith Britt’s “Las Vegas Style” is an acrylic painting with colorful cowboy boots and a sombrero.

Reed-Deemer’s “Hats and Boots for Sale,” a pen and ink drawing with watercolor wash, depicts hats and boots in the sunlit window of a western wear store.

Here’s a sneak preview of some of the auction items:

Two Western Americana bronze sculptures donated by nationally known sculptor Duke Sundt, who also designed bas-relief belt buckles with a bronco rider for the foundation to sell at the gala.

An original print from famed New Mexico artist Elmer Schooley donated by Jean Collins. Schooley taught fine arts at Highlands for 30 years and died in 2007.

A one-week stay in a vacation resort in Sedona, Ariz. and a one-week stay in Puerta Vallarta or Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Rose and Bill Taylor donated both packages.

A 0ne-week stay in a cottage on the scenic Oregon coast donated by Pam Daves.

An Aug. 19 — 25 stay in a large cottage at the original Chautauqua in southwestern New York State that includes two passes to the week’s events. Donated by Nancy Colalillo.

Two season golf passes donated by Pendaries Golf Course.

A Pie-A-Month donated by Charlie’s Spic & Span.

Gift certificates donated by La Risa Café.

A $500 savings bond that matures to $1,000 donated by Southwest Capital Bank (formerly Bank of Las Vegas.)

A $150 BTU gift certificate donated by Shelly and Wayne Sonchar.

An antique stain glass window donated by Donna and Dennis Nathan.

Individual tickets for the gala are $100, with options to reserve tables for eight. April 16 is the last day to purchase tickets.

Tickets and more details about the President’s Gala are online at www.purpletieaffair.comor at the Alumni Office, 905 University Ave., or call 505-454-3248.