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Mystery Art Sale Returns to the Springs School

Thu, 06/06/2024 - 11:42
Artwork by both Springs School students and professional artists will be up for grabs tomorrow and Saturday when the Mystery Art Sale returns to Ashawagh Hall.

Since last fall, the Springs School PTA has been planning the return of the popular Mystery Art Sale after a six-year hiatus. Friday and Saturday are the big days — let the guessing game begin.

A fund-raiser that will benefit children at the school, here's how it works: "It's a collection of student work and professional artists' work, all the same size, and all anonymous," said Casey Dalene, a Springs mother who served as lead organizer of the sale. "As you walk through the gallery and look at the work, you're not going to know who did what. You can try to guess, but you won't know. Every person that comes to shop the sale can buy a five-by-seven piece for $20, whether by a student or professional, and the mystery is revealed later when you get to see who signed the back of the work."

Visiting and buying hours are 5 to 8 p.m. tomorrow and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at Ashawagh Hall. There will be a closing reception afterward on Saturday, including a thank-you toast to the artists. Works of art can be picked up on Sunday from 10 to noon.

Students will have a chance to see their work, too, before the sale starts, in mini field trips to Ashawagh Hall today and tomorrow.
Approximately 700 students each created one piece for the sale during their art classes, but alongside those works of art will be pieces by heavy hitters in the art world, including April Gornik, Hiroyuki Hamada, Eric Ernst, Scott Bluedorn, and Dan Welden. Separately, there will be 20 works in an auction by more professionals — these won't be anonymous — including Mica Marder, Alison Seiffer, Kym Fulmer, Jessica Dalene Weber, Liz Paris, and Amanda Church.

Ms. Dalene, who has a large network of connections in the art world and experience in curating shows, said the sale "makes sense" in a community like Springs, over the decades the home of many prominent artists.

"This sale just feels like an extension of all that has happened here over the years," Ms. Dalene said. "I want the next generation of creative minds to have all the opportunities they should have."

The Springs School "is very underfunded as compared to other districts," she said. "So we were looking for ideas to bring funds into this school."

There had been a previous discussion about bringing the sale back, but Covid axed those plans. This year's sale returns with the blessing of the parents and teachers who started it. "They're very excited! I've met with most of them and made sure it was okay and got their buy-in," Ms. Dalene said.

The students were supervised by two Springs School art teachers, Laura Marino and Morgan Bock.

"Each student was prompted with three questions to generate ideas for their individual work: What materials do you enjoy making art with? Why would someone be interested in buying your piece of art? Most importantly, what do you love creating?" Ms. Marino said by email. "They had full freedom to create their works, which resulted in a variety of artworks unique to their personalities."

For Erik Kelt, the school principal, this is the first Mystery Art Sale to be held during his tenure.

"While I personally hope to get a piece from one of our generous local artists, I can assure you that I will definitely be looking forward to being lucky enough to purchase some amazing student art," he said in an email. "Our students have worked so hard under the guidance of Ms. Marino, and they are so talented. I have never encountered anything like this in my nearly 20 years in education. I love driving around seeing the green signs with question marks on them! It is all so exciting."


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