Aug. 8 was a record-setting fundraiser for Boothbay Region Land Trust. At the nonprofit’s quadrennial art auction held at the new headquarters at Oak Point Farm in Boothbay Harbor, BLRT grossed over $90,000.
The auction included 77 art pieces of paintings, ceramics, photography and jewelry. Artists donated their work and all proceeds went to BRLT. Besides being a record setter, this year’s auction was notable for another reason. A collaboration between BRLT and recently completed Maine Stone Symposium made more art available. The symposium ran from July 2 to Aug. 4 in Boothbay. Following the symposium, 10 artists allowed their creations included in the auction. Proceeds were split, 75% to the artist and 25% to the land trust.
And after auctioneers Kaja Veilleux and John Buttero of Thomaston Auction Place Galleries gaveled the final sale, BRLT finished the night with the largest fundraiser in its history. “All in all, it was an amazing community event that would not have been pulled off without so many generous contributors,” said BRLT Development Director Skye Wood.
Ten of the 16 sculptures offered were sold. Sculptor Andreas von Huene’s piece sold for the largest amount, $37,000. All proceeds supports the land trust’s “This is Your Land: Campaign for Oak Point Farm.” In 2017, the farm became a public preserve and it serves as BRLT’s headquarters. The 32-acre preserve includes stunning views and wildlife, a freshwater pond, heirloom apple trees, deep water dock, two moorings and 2,000 feet of coastal waterfront.
This year’s featured artist was Don Demers who also served as auction chairman. His interest in painting maritime subjects began while spending his summers near Boothbay Harbor. Demers’ professional career began as an illustrator and expanded into fine art. His illustrations were featured on book covers and in national magazines such as Reader’s Digest, Sail Magazine, Sports Afield, Yankee and National Geographic. Demers has won a record 17 awards at the Mystic International Marine Auction Art Exhibition in Connecticut.
Board member Lauren Stockwell of Southport was one of the artists who donated the 77 art pieces for the auction. Stockwell’s donation, the 8-inch by 9-inch watercolor “Autumn Stream,” resulted from her love for art and land preserves. Stockwell moved to the region in the late 1970s when there were no land preserves. She described the land trust’s work as providing access to the region’s natural beauty.
“There was really no public access. I remember Ovens Mouth had access by Jeep, but it was littered with beer cans, but the land trust began, and now there are several land preserves including Ovens Mouth,” Stockwell said.
The auction drew 194 guests. Tickets were $100 each.