PORT TOWNSEND — Musician David Grisman of Port Townsend, the eminence known as the Paganini of the mandolin, can relate to the idea of “Weave It Together.”
The bluegrass-jazz-folk artist has donated a mandolin to the auction bearing that name, and he will toss in a private lesson to go with it.
“It was her idea,” he said, smiling at his wife, Tracy Bigelow Grisman.
She’s a visual artist and the donor of “The Honorable RBG,” a portrait of the late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Her painting, along with David’s gifts, is among the dozens of items in “Weave It Together,” the inaugural fundraising auction for the newly merged Port Townsend School of the Arts and Northwind Arts Center.
The “Weave” auction catalog is found at Northwindart.org, where browsing is free and open 24/7.
Teresa Verraes, executive director of the merged nonprofit organization — to take the name Northwind Art as of Jan. 1 — expressed delight with the way the “Weaving” items came together.
“Aren’t they beautiful?” she said of the images displayed in the catalog.
Those items include Kerry Tremain’s photograph “Neah Bay Doves” shares the site with “Michelle” and “Scarlet,” two umbrellas designed by painter Karen Sistek; “Wake-Up Call,” a Max Grover painting paired with a bag of Sunrise Coffee, is on the same page with “It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere,” a collection of hand-painted Lolita martini glasses. Orca earrings, a beaded sari and a Marimekko quilt are also up for bid, as is the late Russell Jaqua’s “Human Form Spirit Stick” sculpture.
Item values range from $25 to $8,000. For those who sign up to be VIPs, there are wine totes handmade by local artists — a bottle of sparkling wine inside — plus a preview at the Grover Gallery in downtown Port Townsend and online gala attendance, all for $75.
Online bidding at Northwindart.org stays open until 5:45 p.m. Dec. 6, while participants are encouraged to register on the website.
At 5:30 p.m. that same Sunday evening, Verraes and Northwind Arts Center director Michael D’Alessandro will start the live Weave It Together gala — also free and online. They will then conduct live bidding for selected auction items and talk about plans for the new organization’s launch.
“This is the runway for us,” Verraes said of the whole event.
The auction is designed not only to generate revenue but also to raise awareness of the marriage of the 21-year-old Northwind Arts Center and 5-year-old Port Townsend School of the Arts. This is an expansion, Verraes said, that will continue use of the Northwind center at 701 Water St., the Grover Gallery at 236 Taylor St. downtown and the school’s building at Fort Worden State Park.
Verraes and D’Alessandro announced plans for the merger last July, emphasizing their desire to offer more art classes, more public programs and more support for local artists. They seek to mix creative people in all media, from painting to songwriting, and artists of all levels, from student to master.
Northwind Art is “is an artist support network,” D’Alessandro noted, “much like an Artist Trust for our region,” helping local people connect.
The new name emphasizes the wind’s power, Verraes added. On the North Olympic Peninsula, the wind causes motion across land and sea — stirring people to be creative.
At the same time, Verraes admitted to being “nerve-wracked” about the auction, which runs a full two weeks.
“Virtual events: There are so many of them,” she said.
Yet Verraes looks forward to bringing the arts community together, both during the bidding and on gala night.
“This is a big deal,” she said, “and we’ve got a plan to keep the vibe up for our community.”
Diane Urbani de la Paz, senior reporter in Jefferson County, can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected].