By Mira Brody EBS STAFF
BIG SKY – The fifth annual Big Sky Art Auction presented by Outlaw Partners, the publisher of EBS, attracted a steady flow of visitors in and out of the big white tent in Town Center on Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19.
It was the first large outdoor event of the summer held in Wilson Plaza Town Center and the hundreds of attendees who previewed and participated graciously adhered to social distancing and sanitation safety precautions and mask protocols. Big ticket items that sold included a beautiful Tom Gilleon painting at $50,000 and Jackson Hole Jewelers’ Picchiotti Turquoise and Diamond Bracelet for $42,000.
Carolyn Heppel, a lucky live auction bidder who attended with her husband, arrived with her heart set on a unique engraved bracelet from By Western Hands that they had seen being made in Cody last year.
“It’s beautiful engraving work,” commented Heppel. “We’ve met [the artist] before and seen him demonstrate his work and it’s just a really gorgeous engraving.”
By Western Hands is a nonprofit with a legacy of preserving this wild, frontier spirit in the works of the master craftsman they support. It was their first time partnering with the Big Sky Art Auction and they brought with them 30 functional art pieces.
“Auctions like this are typically built around paintings and bronzes, so to be able to have functional art in this auction is a real privilege,” said Doug Nordberg, of Nordberg Furniture, who was at the auction with By Western Hands. Nordberg’s focus is on antler furniture and his work can be spotted in galleries all over the Northern Rockies. “This is the first of it’s kind. This is the first auction that has let a lot of these pieces in here, and I hope we get to come back next year.”
In addition to By Western Hands and Gilleon, other notable artists included Shelly Bermont, who presented “Silver South Sea Pearl” necklace and Gina Daws, creator of “The Rambler,” an impressive original bear painting.
It was a year of firsts—it was also the first time the Big Sky Art Auction was both virtual and live, allowing artists to reach a wider audience, including those who may not have wanted to gather in a group setting. Outlaw said they will continue to enhance and expand these platforms in the future to accommodate both audiences, including a more streamlined live feed and pre-bidding opportunities online to maximize exposure for the artists and participants pre-event.
“We are grateful for the community’s support of the fifth annual Art Auction and really enjoyed seeing it take shape in its new location at the Wilson Hotel Plaza in Town Center,” said Megan Paulson, chief operating officer of Outlaw Partners. “It’s more important now than ever to support our local and regional artists, businesses and nonprofits, so being able to safely bring the community together and see success is a big win. We had a remarkable lineup of auction items and look forward to growing the event in the future.”
Special thanks to the sponsors who made the Big Sky Art Auction a success: Magleby Construction, Jackson Hole Jewelry, Lisa Gleim Fine Art and Old Main Gallery.