Social planning

The nation’s only independent public college of art and design, MassArt, will host its 25th Annual Benefit Art Auction with a selection of over 300 artworks from painting to sculpture to furniture by national and international artists.

Besides this year’s extensive inventory of works from famed contemporary artists like Andy Warhol, Esteban Vicente, and Robert Rauschenberg, the auction, which benefits student scholarships and academic programming at MassArt, will be available to access online for the first time ever.

“We had been researching on how to improve the operation of the auction,” says Marjorie O’Malley, MassArt’s Vice President of Advancement and Executive Director of the MassArt Foundation. “It appeared to me that it was time to really take a look at technology in a serious way and how it could improve the experience that our patrons have when the my come to our auctions.”

This year the college has partnered with Paddle8 – a fully integrated online auction house – to be the gallery in New England to embrace on–site bidding via iPad kiosks in the gallery and providing for collectors and art enthusiasts to access the art virtually from around the world.

“We’ve already sold five pieces, and it’s created quite a buzz because things are going down differently this year,” says O’Malley. “People are really pleased with how easy it easy to get access to the Paddle 8 system and to purchase art online.

By fully integrating technology into the operation, MassArt is exploring the benefits of online art commerce for not only the college, but for the artists themselves, and bringing fine art to a much wider audience. The live auction kicks off tomorrow, April 12th at 8:00pm at MassArt’s South Hall.

“This year’s benefit is a nice combination of well-known and local emerging artists, so people that love contemporary art are going to be very pleased by the first-grade works we have in store.”

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