Members of the public will have the opportunity to make iconic local art part of their personal collection at the upcoming Banjo Crawl Art Auction and Concert.
The event, which is scheduled for 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 4 at Old North State Winery, 308 North Main Street, is the culmination of a public art project that began in April.
“This is the third year we’re doing it,” said Lizzie Morrison, coordinator of Mount Airy Downtown Inc, (MAD) and event organizer.
“We reveal the sculptures in the spring, usually in line with the Budbreak Festival,” she said.
Fiddles were featured for the first two installations of the program, with banjos and their diminutive relative, the banjolele, introduced this year.
For the public’s enjoyment, several large banjo sculptures were placed at various locations along Main Street and 12 banjoleles are on view at the visitor’s center.
The banjoleles and four large banjo sculptures will be auctioned off at the Nov. 4 event as a fundraiser for MAD. A portion of the proceeds also go to the artists that created each piece.
Some auction winners choose to donate their pieces to the city for permanent placement.
“They may do that in memory and honor of a loved one,” Morrison said.
Two pieces have already been added to the downtown this year, Morrison’s “Long Time Coming,” which was placed at The Addition at F. Rees Company and donated by the company in honor of former employees Janice Cooke and Maude Booker.
A banjo created by Morrison and Ann Patterson Sparks, “Henry’s Tune,” is located at Unique Background Solutions, sponsored by N.A. and Judy Barns in honor of their grandchildren.
Also to be auctioned this year is a one-of-a-kind framed painting by Hillary Floyd, which features a detailed view of Mount Airy.
“It highlights the historical architecture and also the nostalgia of the downtown district,” said Morrison.
Limited edition, signed prints will be for sale at the auction event and are currently for sale at Talley’s Custom Frame and Gallery and at the MAD offices on Moore Avenue.
Morrison estimated that auctions in past years have generated about $45,000.
The success of the public art program has benefits that are less easily quantifiable.
“It creates another avenue for local artists to have a public platform in the community,” said the MAD coordinator. “It’s the perfect marriage of art, music and wine,” she continued, but more importantly “it’s putting art into the public space. People can experience art out on Main Street without having to go to an art gallery or museum.”
Morrison mentioned visitors and families out on the street who enjoy taking photographs with the instruments, even pretending to play them.
“It’s making art accessible while improving the design of downtown. It’s nothing but positive.”
Those who do not plan on bidding are encouraged to come.
“The auction is really entertaining,” led by Dustin Rogers of Rogers Realty & Auction Company. “He does a wonderful job of getting the crowd involved.”
Pilot Mountain native and Nashville musician Lacy Green and band will provide live music at the event.
Tickets can be purchased for $15 at Old North State Winery, the Mount Airy Visitors Center, the Mayberry Antique Mall and the MAD Inc., offices.
Raffle tickets can be purchased for $5 in advance or at the event, which earns a chance to win a banjo sculpture titled “The Rainbow Connection,” by Will Shephard.
“These banjos could go for $700 to $3,400 at auction, you could end up winning one for $5, which is a pretty great deal,” Morrison said.
For more information visit mountairydowntown.org or call 336-401-0885.
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.