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The Auction for the Arts on Saturday, March 4 is one of the Black Mountain Center for the Arts' most important fundraisers, not just because it raises money to support the nonprofit center's year-round classes and programs but also because the people attend know they will have a good time.

The Auction for the Arts, held for the 12th year this year, is not an art auction. It’s an auction for the arts that includes hundreds of goods and services. Tickets are $25 advance and $30 the day of the event.

The event begins at 6 p.m. with a catered reception and a silent auction in the center's gallery that features a wide range of items, including textiles, pottery, jewelry, gift certificates and entertainment and theater packages.

About 7 p.m. the event moves into the theater space for the entertaining - and sometimes heated - live auction. Auctioneer John Hill will lead the bidding again this year while attorney Lee Taylor describes the items and artist Julia Burr keeps the action moving by hamming it up. Items for the live auction are of higher value and may include prints, furniture, sculpture, sports equipment, musical instruments and vacation accommodations.

“Every year we are overwhelmed by the generosity of our Black Mountain community,” Gale Jackson, the center's executive director, said. “From the items up for bid, to local restaurants who provide the food, to the many volunteers who help make the event run smoothly, to our board members who advocate for us on so many levels, there is no way to properly express our gratitude. Hopefully we do it by having another great auction where guests leave full of energy and excitement.”

This year the auction is coordinated by Ana Prendergast and Jennifer Holt, with the help of dedicated board members and arts center friends. Merchants and residents have donated items for bid.

While they make their silent auction bids, guests will fortify themselves with prime rib and healthy but decadent sides. A table full of desserts will supply the sugar rush before the paddles go up during the live auction. In the thick of the bidding, the fun continues to flow and spirits are high. Typically the action is fast and funny and over by 9:30 p.m.

For more or to purchase tickets call 669-0930 or visit BlackMountainArts.org. Reservations are also available on EventBrite.com.

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