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Open for Bid-Ness

Kate Evans | October 6, 2016 | Lifestyle Story Culture

Every fall for the past 35 years, the San Jose Institute for Contemporary Art has hosted one of the most exciting events of the season: Connect & Collect—which includes an exhibition (Sept. 24 to Oct. 22), along with silent and live auctions—is a major fundraiser for the museum that showcases some of the region’s most talented artists. “The auctions are a combination of wonderful people, all of whom are enthusiastic about art; the cutting-edge art itself, often created by emerging and midcareer artists; food and wine; an amazing auctioneer; and the chance to connect with other collectors as well as artists,” says SJICA board member Nicki Moffat. “What’s not to love?”

Last year’s event raised $250,000, with pieces going for $300 to $20,000. Among them were a Manuel Neri sculpture, Jim Campbell light box, Amy Ellingson painting, Bruce Conner lithograph, work on paper from Nathan Oliveira, Gustavo Ramos Rivera monotype and Frank Lobdell etching. The upcoming 36th edition of Connect & Collect will entail “nearly 200 works by local, regional and national contemporary artists in every medium under the sun,” says Cathy Kimball, SJICA’s executive director. “With such a wide variety, our visitors can see what artists are making and thinking about right now. It’s a finger on the pulse of the current art scene in the Bay Area and beyond, and there is literally something for everyone.” While this year’s participating artists are still being nalized, Kimball anticipates works by Rivera and Campbell again, plus contributions from Silvia Poloto, Sidnea D’Amico, Jann Nunn, Gideon Rubin and Russell Crotty.

For many, what makes the SJICA benefit so special is the accessibility of the art and the artists. Events such as the opening reception Oct. 2 and live auction gala Oct. 22 offer a chance to form and foster relationships with the creators. “You get as close to the artists as possible, see their work spaces, track their careers, invite them over to see their pieces in your home and get insight into what they’re thinking,” observes Michael Cuneo, who previously served as president of the SJICA board of directors. Of course, there’s also the unadulterated thrill of falling in love with a work and successfully bidding on it. Says Kimball: “Acquiring your first or your 1,000th work of art is an exhilarating experience.” 560 S. First St., San Jose, 408.283.8155

Originally published in the September issue of Silicon Valley

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