The list reads like a âWhoâs Whoâ of significant Florida Keys artists: Jim Salem, William Welch, Jon McIntosh, Sal Salinero, Carrie Disrud, Sean Callahan, Julie Joyce, Gale Upmal, Fran Decker, Ann Irvine, Keith Bland, Anja Marais, Jimm Sherrington and more than 60 others who are equally significant.
But instead of a âWhoâs Who,â the list documents the artists whose work will be auctioned at the 2012 Anne McKee Artists Fund fine art auction, set for Saturday, Jan. 28, at Key Westâs historic Fort East Martello Museum. For art lovers, thereâs no better place to find top-quality, affordable pieces by the creative spirits who call the Keys home.
The McKee Fund, FYI, is a wonderful example of Keys artists helping their fellow artists. The fund provides project-based grants to qualified Keys residents who show talent in visual art, writing or performing art â plus a commitment to the Keys arts community.
Each year, money is raised for the grants at a winter gala and live auction of fine art. Itâs all created by generous local artists who are eager to support other members of their close-knit community.
While many nonprofit organizations ask artists to donate their work, thatâs not the way the McKee Fund operates. Instead, each person whose work is auctioned receives 50 percent of the proceeds from the sale, and the fund gets the other 50 percent.
At the Jan. 28 auction, you can expect to find original paintings, sculpture, photography, fiber art, ceramics, woodworking, mixed media, art jewelry and more â some created by critically acclaimed masters and some by talented emerging artists.
As in the past, the bidding will be guided by renowned New England auctioneer Charlie Bailey-Gates. In addition to nearly 20 years of experience, Charlie possesses a deep respect and appreciation for the Keys artists whose pieces he has showcased at previous McKee auctions.
Upon arrival at the auction, you can view the featured artistsâ work and enjoy gourmet hors dâoeuvres and cocktails on the grounds of the Civil War-era East Martello (where, by the way, Key Westâs âparanormal pop star,â Robert the Doll, lives in a comfortable glass case). Viewing begins at 7 p.m. and bidding at 8 p.m.
Many whose work will be auctioned Jan. 28 are previous recipients of McKee Fund grants.
People in the fields of visual, literary and performance art are eligible to apply for grants when the annual awards cycle begins each spring.
Since its creation, the fund has given more than $170,000 to deserving members of the Keys arts community. Between 10 and 20 grants are typically awarded each year, including two to talented young people.
Three grants are given in memory of notable Florida Keys residents: Richard Heyman, the late Gingerbread Square Gallery founder and former Key West mayor; Jack Baron, the late Key West artist; and Miriam B. Good, a late Lower Keys artist and McKee Fund board member.
Anne McKee, a Key West resident since 1971, is a longtime friend of the arts. Years ago, she realized that many funding opportunities were available to arts organizations.
In contrast, she saw a great need to provide financial assistance and recognition to talented individual artists. Today, the McKee Fundâs volunteer board of directors carries out her mission.
Everyone who supports that mission is invited to attend the Jan. 28 auction, and view and bid on the featured artwork. Not only do buyers take something from the Florida Keys home with them â they leave something behind to help the local arts community continue to flourish.