In 1992, when the town of Columbus, NY, the oldest town in the US (named after Christopher Columbus), was asked how they would be celebrating the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in America, Golden Artist Colors with support from the community, held a stirring Gallery exhibition of Native American artwork by renowned artists Kay WalkingStick, Joe Feddersen and Elizabeth Woody, Tom Huff, Joanna Osburn-Bigfeather, Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, and more, and was curated by Phil Young. There was a terrific thunder and lightning storm, with torrents of rain and loud continuous rumbling thunder, as the doors opened to this evening event. However, it didn’t stop the show. In fact, a record attendance of hundreds of local community friends and neighbors attended that night, despite the controversial nature of the exhibition and with little regard for our unpredictable Upstate New York weather. But we had not planned for all those umbrellas.
This year, on August 12, the Golden Foundation celebrated its 20th Anniversary on another stormy night, with a benefit art auction held in the Galleries and hallways of Golden Artist Colors. Over 200 generously donated works of art, created by artists and friends of the Foundation, were available for purchase through a silent, live, and first-time online auctions. Many of these artworks had come to the Golden Foundation over the years, some from artists with significant international acclaim and honors, some from those represented in important collections, both public and private throughout the world, some from past residents, and many, from our local community.
When the doors closed to the Silent Auction at 7:00 pm, the Live Auction began with hundreds of community members preparing to raise their gold paddles (yes, painted with GOLDEN paints!), or, at least to fan themselves. Volunteers from Golden Artist Colors carried the artworks, one at a time, up onto a wooden stage, while two auctioneers worked together to cajole the audience to get the best possible prices for the artwork. What are the odds of having two GOLDEN employees with auctioneer backgrounds?!?! Bill Mattice’s family had previously been in the cattle auction business and Keith Rifenburg’s experience was with antiques. Their booming voices, infectious energy and movement on the stage to a rhythm of “yup!” “yup!” “yup!” created an atmosphere of friendly, and not so friendly, competition among those in the audience, as they bid against each other for a treasured painting.
In the main Sam & Adele Golden Gallery (SAGG), paintings and sculpture were viewed before the online auction closed within the next 24 hours. Works by artists who had collaborated with Sam and Mark Golden in paint, Jackie Battenfield, Ken Noland, Dan Christensen, Dale Chihuly, Paul Jenkins, Frank Stella, Ronnie Landfield, Friedel Dzubas, Roy De Forest, and works from artists in the Golden residency program, Jane Fine, Ruth Hiller, Clarence Morgan, Kate Javens, Donald Martiny, Robin Tewes, Shea Hembrey, and Pat Lasch, just to name a few, were hung on the gallery walls, studio style. Friends of the Foundation and many community artists, Steve Achimore, Susan Roth, Darryl Hughto, Mary Frank, John Griefen, David Mackenzie, John Bentham, Scott Bennett, Mark and Judi Witkin, and Richard Saba, all generously donated their work to support the Foundation’s efforts to raise funds.
We’re thrilled to share that the auctions ended up raising well over $110,000. We attribute this to our incredible local and global community of supporters, friends and family, staff of Golden Artist Colors, our vendors, and to our Sales Representatives from all over the world, who coordinated their annual three day sales meeting at Golden Artist Colors on the weekend of the Foundation’s auction. The proceeds from the sales of these artworks were given to the endowment, both for continuation of the Foundation’s unique Artist Residency program, and for sustained future growth.
Much like the Gallery exhibition of 1992, a severe wind and rain storm occurred 15 minutes before the Foundation opening event. A large tree fell across Bell Road, and alum Resident Shea Hembrey and incoming guests jumped out of their cars to remove the huge limbs that blocked the entrance to the driveway. The rain and heat raised the humidity of the night and lights from the parking lot accentuated the heavy fog in the air. As the evening ended, several employees volunteered to clean up as the last guests exited the building. We finished within an hour or so, and as we descended from the third floor to the second, we noticed that the hallway walls were “moving”. Closer inspection revealed thousands of mosquito-like insects that had entered the building through the doors left wide open by the last guests. The foyer walls and ceiling were crawling with insects so thick it changed the color of the white walls to gray. This Amityville scene was accentuated by the quiet, hot humid summer night air, which must have triggered an explosion of insects that were then attracted by the interior lights of the building. Nevertheless, just like that night in 1992, our community came out to support us. And this time we were ready with several umbrella stands.
The distinctiveness of the Golden Foundation Residency program lies in the ability of artists in residence to have access to a wide range of materials, supplies and equipment. The Labs at Golden Artist Colors will work to produce requested custom product, whether in color, viscosity, or texture, within a 24-hour turnaround. Each 4 week long residency includes not just the ability to explore and experiment with materials, but also the opportunity to converse with GOLDEN’s Lab technicians, covering topics such as frugal use of water in the studio (wells supply our water here in Upstate NY), or proper wastewater disposal. None of the company’s or the Foundation’s wastewater goes into the ground (http://www.goldenpaints.com/just-paint-article3). Other educational components to the program include sharing the latest research and cutting edge, groundbreaking materials. And yes, we do give the artists time to paint, to network with each other, to share meals in a communal kitchen or to walk the over 140 acre fields and wooded trails surrounding the residency barn.
It is with great joy that we are able to announce the Foundation’s ability to offer free residencies to the 36 artists who will be selected to attend in 2018 and 2019. A goal of the Foundation since the inception of the residency program in 2012 has been to support an artist’s ability to attend at little or no cost to them. Our endowment has been growing for over 20 years, and this year’s benefit art auction was the event that helped us achieve that goal!
From all of us at the Foundation, we thank these generous communities for their support.
Read more about the Sam &Adele Golden Foundation at www.goldenfoundation.org.