The Gala

Last Saturday night, the honored guests lined the walls of the Grain Belt Bottling House. Speechless, they poured out diverse stories, lights showcasing their beauty. I stood in front of each, listening. And hoping to understand.

Because art has volumes to say, if one has the ears to hear.

Party-goers strolled through the galleries of silent auction items, sipping drinks and chatting with friends and fellow parents, all attending the annual art event to raise funds for artist residencies at Marcy Open School in Minneapolis. Cocking their heads or adjusting their glasses, they leaned in and listened to the artwork too, and I remembered I coordinated the event years ago for exactly this: to bring humans together with creation.

My gaze landed on a piece of art—a framed poster advertising an Edward Hopper exhibit at the Walker Art Center. It beckoned me and spoke:

You and me? We’re perfect together. I match everything in your house. And remember how much you like Hopper? Get me! I’m yours!

All three of our girls had attended Marcy Open from kindergarten through eighth grade, and this was our last kid’s final year. How could I pass up this art? How could I deny school children rich arts-infused learning experiences by not buying it? I snapped up a pen, dangling on a string near the piece’s bid sheet. The starting bid was low, and my hopes were high.

After enjoying food donated by Alma, Brasa, Cocina Latina, Create Catering, and Ginger Hop, I buzzed back over to my piece. But I wasn’t the only one admiring it. In my absence, another appreciator of the work had swooped in, slashed his or her mark on the sheet, and disappeared into the crowd. I narrowed my eyes and struck a new mark. I wandered away, but soon checked back again. In such little time, someone had already been there with their bid. I grabbed the pen and went in. But the most recent writing was Husband’s. Safe. For now.

While Husband browsed art elsewhere, I continued my surveillance of the piece. And then I saw something else. Nearby hung a large hydro-stone relief sculpture of a man’s torso—with only one bid. But wait. It was scratched out! No bids? On something this majestic? So ancient Rome. So perfect. I jotted my bid number. If it came down to it, I could find a wall for it at home, couldn’t I? And wouldn’t it be fun to be the top bidder and surprise Husband?

The galleries closed; the bidding ceased; the pieces were mine. Husband strode toward me.

“Guess what I just won?” I said, bubbling over.

He raised an eyebrow. “Besides the Edward Hopper?”

I pointed to the stone wonder near us. “This.”

“Seriously?” He shook his head and laughed.

A man sauntered to us, nodding toward the relief sculpture. “What are you gonna do with your man body painting?”

I smiled. When it came to art, I had my plans. I always had my plans.


Images: 1. Exhibit of kids' self portraits (not for sale), 2. A view from above, 3. Me with two of my gala ladies: Wonder Woman (middle) & Superstar (right), 4. Untitled hydro-stone relief sculpture by artist Mauro Possobon Pozzobonelli, 35 x 55 inches. 5. The Edward Hopper print, 28 x 41 inches.

*Also at the party: FultonBittercube, and Stinson Wine, Beer, & Spirits

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*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.