Laughter, fun and excitement: just three of the adjectives that can be used to describe the Student Life Art Auction, an annual event that raises money for the Carole L. Isaak ALANA Scholarship, which benefits African American, Latin American, Asian American and Native American students.
“My predecessor, Carole Isaak, was the assistant director of academic advising and a lecturer in the English department for over 20 years,” current assistant director of Academic Advising Jean-Paul Benowitz said. “She retired in the May of 2010, and to honor her, her colleagues established the Carole Isaak ALANA Scholarship fund… And [I] thought that a clever way we might be able to raise money for the scholarship fund would be to hold an art auction.”
Benowitz realized that there is a group of artists around campus that is made up of more than just students. There are artists working in the mail room, in the kitchens, on the custodial staff, in the classroom, and Benowitz saw an opportunity for them to put their work up for sale. Residents at the Masonic Village are also encouraged to donate art and will be attending the event.
“Last year we held our first annual Student Life Art Auction and it was so much fun, I mean really laughter, unbelievable laughter,” Benowitz said. “It was hilarious, and when the night was over we sold every piece of art plus things that people had donated.” Among the donations was jewelry sold in a silent auction. Director of Residence Life, Allison Bridgeman, also organized a group to donate holiday cookies. This year, donations include antique items as well.
“I really liked the atmosphere. It’s really fun and exciting to be there,” junior Betty Lai stated, who is handling the public relations for the event. “Also, Professor Benowitz hosts the event, and he’s really funny and cracks people up,” she added.
The Student Life Art Auction has a little bit for everyone. A light meal is served as well as dessert, and there is art that will catch the eye of all who attend. “We have art for everybody. We have art for serious collectors, there’s art of that quality, there are some photographs of that quality, then we have some commercial framed art that people are welcome to buy,” Benowitz said. “We have art students’ work that you could buy for gifts at the holiday time or to put on display in their residence hall rooms, or people might want to buy and put in their offices, but we have a lot of different kinds of art that will appeal to a very wide audience.”
Along with the auction, Phalanx and Melica will be performing at this year’s event. “I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the artwork of our students,” said Alexandra Rothstein, a sophomore member of Melica. The artwork is not the only thing students are looking forward to. “I think it’s a new Etown tradition, and [it’s important to] keep it going. You pay five dollars for really good food and have fun while supporting a really good cause, so why not?” Lai said.
Also attending the event is Isaak, and many students, including alumni, enjoy being able to interact and visit with her as well. Isaak is one of the reasons Lai got involved with the auction. “Carole Isaak was my advisor, and I wanted to help out. I feel they needed better public relations for it so it could have a better outcome,” Lai commented.
This year, Benowitz expects the auction to be just as successful as last year. “I hope that people laugh as much as they did last year, and I just hope that we sell all the art that we have, and all the proceeds go to the scholarship fund,” Benowitz said. The Student Life Art Auction is Wednesday, Nov. 30 in the Susquehanna Room of Myer Hall from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults. They can be purchased from Susan Lehman at LEHMANSU@etown.edu, or they can be purchased at the door.