Mountain Art Gathering breaks last year’s sales records
KEYSTONE – The fourth annual Mountain Art Gathering had record-breaking sales benefitting The Summit Foundation last weekend.
Though final numbers are not tallied, by early Sunday afternoon artwork sales had reached $210,000, compared to last year’s final sales of $158,000. The 12 artists, collectively named The Gatherers, donate 20 percent of their sales to The Summit Foundation.
In addition to sales, the foundation raises money through its annual dinner gala and auction, sponsorship and other donations. Last year the event raised a total of $70,000, and Deb Edwards, executive director of The Summit Foundation, expects this year’s tally to be greater. Friday’s auction of donated artwork raised $19,875, compared to $17,550 last year, and about 200 people attended the $100 ticketed event, she said.
“All in all, everybody’s had a very successful show,” New Mexico jeweler Phil Poirier said. “I think it will be a record as far as money the event has raised for The Summit Foundation. (The artists have) done better than in past years, and the auction did better than past years.”
“Every year has been better and better,” said artist B.J. Briner, who lived in Summit County for 20 years before moving to Taos, New Mexico, in 1998. “Even though we’re from other parts of the country, we’re fortunate enough to leave some of our heart and soul here. The Summit Foundation brings together all of the areas of the community by bringing us all together. All of the county really benefits from it.”
The Summit Foundation awards grants from proceeds to nonprofit agencies providing programs and services in art and culture, health and human services, education, environment and sports.
Artwork displayed at the gathering included oil pencil, basketry, blown glass, abstract bronze sculptures, mixed media sculptures, woodblock printing, watercolor paintings, pottery, jewelry and heirloom furniture.
“I’ve been showing up here for four years, and this has been the best (show) for me,” Texas heirloom furniture artist Doug Ricketts said. “Everyone seems very up. There’s a lot of encouragement and excitement. We keep getting a lot of comments from everybody who comes through the booths that they like the quality and the variety of art.”
The Mountain Art Gathering has gained momentum not only from the donations of the artists, but also from the support of the community.
“There’s a lot of reasons why it could not have been a good year – the stock market, the economy – but possibly that’s the very reason the community seems to have come together, and that’s the biggest thing I’d say. Here in Summit County we all get a really good sense of community spirit,” Poirier said.
“(The artists) feel like family to us, even the new artists,” Edwards said, “so that tells me they have the same spirit, heart and soul about not only showing their art, but also the reason for this event – to raise money for the whole community.”
“It’s basically creating our own destiny as an artist,” founder of The Gatherers Daryl Howard said. “When we arrive here, we are what raises money for the event, and The Summit Foundation realizes that, and they treat us well. I’ve broken a record for this event. … It’s a really, really good feeling to give back to the community.”
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