Art lovers lined up outside of the Carroll Arts Center on Aug. 20, eager to be the first to check out the selection of previously owned art at the center's annual yART Sale.
Both floors of the Art Center were filled with hundreds of pieces donated by community members from all over the county. These pieces were then priced to move, with the largest selling for $25 but most selling for less than $10. According to Sandy Oxx, executive director of the Carroll County Arts Council, this year saw a huge increase in donations of artwork, leading to a deeper pool to purchase from.
When the yART Sale began four years ago, most of the donated artwork was in poor quality, and was sold primarily to be cannibalized into another project or purchased specifically for the frame. Each year, though, Oxx said, the quality of the donated pieces has increased, with beautiful gallery-ready paintings selling for yard sale prices.
The money raised at the yART Sale goes to support the programs of the Carroll County Arts Council. According to Oxx, the event is a vital fundraiser that comes between the major events of the spring's PEEPshow and the winter Festival of Wreaths. This year, they brought in about $5,000 in funds.
With several years of history behind it, shoppers knew about the finds they could make at the most recent sale. Eager to snag a prime pick before anyone else, shoppers lined up on the street before the opening, and within the first few hours began carrying out stacks of artwork. Just two hours after opening, many of the selections had already been picked over, with a large percentage of the paintings purchased and nearly all of the frames for sale taken away.
Aimee Boumiea, of Chestertown, said she attends the yART Sale every year to add to her ever expanding art collection.
"I usually start off looking for some frames that are nice," Boumiea said. "From there, I just look for scenes that catch my eyes or pieces of original art."
Upstairs away from the main gallery, the yART Sale features a room of art supplies for those would like to create next year's offerings. Supplies included how-to books, rubber stamps, needle craft, scrapbooks and clay tools.
Becky Sisler, of Westminster, picked up some glass bulbs at the sale, with plans to take the pieces home to paint dogwoods and flowers onto them. She said the Arts Center is an important cultural center for Westminster.
"I have a piece at home from the wreath festival. I like to come here pretty often," Sisler said. "Today I was looking for something for my mantlepiece, but I came across these as well."
Not all customers are frequent visitors at the Carroll Arts Center. Wendy Casker, of Westminster, said had never been inside prior to the yArt sale, but was on her way to the farmer's market when she saw an advertisement for the sale. She ended up purchasing two pieces, a mechanical drawing of an engine and a painting of a tree on a white background.
"I was looking for something to build a gallery wall around," Casker said. "I thought the tree would make a nice centerpiece."
By the end of the sale, a large portion of items had been sold to art lovers from the area. Oxx said any pieces that go unsold are donated to a variety of community charities.
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