Ben Webb lost the bidding war he got sucked into at the end of Mount Airy Downtown’s Banjo Art Auction and Concert last Friday.
The banjolele sculpture, “Sealidoscope,” by Andrea Miller, eventually sold for $850.
Webb’s motivation for giving it a shot was simple.
“My daughter said she liked it,” said Webb, an owner of Old North State Winery, where the event was held.
The 2016 Banjo Crawl kicked off in April, when the seven large banjo sculptures and 12 banjoleles were revealed to the public and placed at various locations downtown for the public’s enjoyment.
Two of the large banjo sculptures have been purchased and permanently placed.
The remaining lot of five large banjo sculptures and 12 banjoleles found new homes through the auction and raffle, which concludes the crawl for the year.
“It was another successful fundraiser for Mount Airy Downtown Inc.,” said MAD Coordinator Lizzie Morrison, estimating that the organization will pull in about $16,000 from the event.
“While the public art program is an important fundraiser for us, it really is about so much more than that. It makes art accessible to the public, and gives artists a platform to have their work displayed on a permanent basis in the community.”
Alison Johnson, of Mount Airy, provides a good example of that.
At the auction, Johnson purchased a specially commissioned painting of downtown Mount Airy by Hillary Floyd and a banjolele sculpture at the auction, both of which will be displayed publicly, though through slightly different means.
The painting will be hung in a traditional manner at Rogers Realty, but she’s hitting the road with the banjolele.
Johnson is taking ukulele lessons and has a concert coming up with the Mount Airy Ukulele Invasion.
“I’m going all out to play this,” at the concert, she said, referring to her new piece of art, which, pretty as it looks, is still a functioning instrument.
“It’s going to sound good once I tune it,” Johnson said.
Keenia Beck’s large banjo sculpture, “Just Bee,” sold for $950, but the real prize for Beck was winning the people’s choice award.
“I was so excited,” said Beck, an art teacher at Mount Airy High School who has contributed sculptures for the past few fiddle crawls as well.
“I had always secretly wanted the people’s choice award,” she said.
The sculpture sold to one of Beck’s former students who also plays the banjo.
“That really meant a lot to me,” she said. “I know that he really appreciates it.”
Morrison announced that plans are in the works for the 2017 Public Art Guitar Crawl, and that artist applications and sponsorship information will be available on the MAD website soon.
For more information visit www.MountAiryDowntown.org.
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.