May 26, 2018
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PI auction to raise funds for food bank

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Presque Isle Rotary Club has expanded its annual Radio and Television Auction for the past eight years to include the work of local artists.

Not only has the move brought in more money for the club and the charities it supports, but also it has shined a spotlight on the talent of the local artists whose work is featured each year.

This year will be no different, as the 63rd annual auction, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, will feature pieces from 14 local artists.

Gina LeBlanc-Eggert, the auction’s organizer, tri-chairwoman and a Rotarian, said earlier this week that some of this year’s artists have submitted pieces to the art auction for several years, while others are taking part for the first time.

“Over the last eight years, the art segment of Rotary’s annual Radio-TV Auction has shown and publicized the work of more than 90 northern Maine artists and raised some significant money for Rotary charities,” she said.

The club has been working for the eight months to organize the three-day auction.

This year’s auction will raise money to support several causes, including Francis Malcolm Science Institute, Northern Maine Museum of Science, Caring Area Neighbors for Cancer Education and Recovery, Easton School Department, Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery, Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library, and Aroostook Football.

In addition to this year’s auction, the Presque Isle Rotary Club’s special project is to help raise $20,000 to repair the roof of the Catholic Charities of Maine’s Food Distribution Center in Caribou.

The art portion of the auction has brought in almost $13,000 for the Rotary Club and its charities since its inception, according to Rotary Auction Co-Chairman Jeff Pangburn.

This year, the art auction is giving more airtime and bidding time to each piece by having all pieces numbered as one-night items. Instead of the audience bidding on half-hour items, now they will have the whole evening. Organizers said the change will allow the annual “Rotary Resident Artist” and each one-night item to receive additional focus and attention from the camera. Of the art submitted, three pieces will be featured during all three nights.

Viewers will find a wide variety of work, including pottery, paintings, carved ornament pieces and photographs, all up for grabs this year.

This year’s “Rotary Resident Artist” is Tom Cote, a veteran to the auction. A Maine woodcarver, Cote has participated in the art auction for the past six years.

Additional artists include: Betsy Allen, Heather Bessey, Lavina Corey, Tom Cote, Tim Doak, Donald Doheny, William Duncan, Jason Grass, Vera Hayes, Kimberly Kennedy, Oscar Nelder, also known as “Voscar: The Maine Photographer,” and Rita Olsen.

The auction runs each night from 7 to 10 p.m. The one-night items of art will be presented on live television early in the evening. The art listing was unable to be printed with the auction booklet; however, a list and pictures of all the pieces that have been received are posted on with brief descriptions of the artists, their creations and minimum bids for a starting point.

The art is on display at The Aroostook Medical Center, ARG, Pinkham Entrance, until the auction begins.

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