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DAILY PROGRESS: Art Unlocked event offers support to 68 local artists and seven arts organizations

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Anew art benefit is offering support during the pandemic for both individual artists and the organizations that make their work available to audiences.

The inaugural Art Unlocked fundraiser will benefit seven local and regional art organizations — The Art Center in Orange, Beverley Street Studio, The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative, Crozet Arts, McGuffey Art Center, Shenandoah Valley Art Center and Staunton Augusta Art Center.

Event organizers have purchased paintings, sculptures and other works from 68 local artists, which has offered immediate support to artists during the pandemic slowdown. Starting Wednesday, those works will be on display at McGuffey Art Center so art fans and potential buyers can see them.

The exhibition will be on view through Nov. 14, which is when a fundraising event will give buyers a chance to bid on the works that appeal to them. Prices range from $4,500 to $25, and the proceeds from the art sales will be divided among the seven arts organizations.

The 4:30 p.m. Nov. 14 event at McGuffey will include music by Wild Common and a performance by Lillie Williams of Chihamba. Guy Beery, executive chef and owner of A Pimento Catering, will serve a five-course dinner. Sebastian Clarke, a featured appraiser on “Antiques Roadshow,” will be the evening’s guest auctioneer.

Participating in Art Unlocked already is meaningful to the participating artists.

“It’s just a wonderful experience,” said artist and organizer Bob Anderson, who is showing a pen-and-ink nude. He said to expect lots of sculpture in the show, as well as ceramics, textiles and “every medium within two-dimensional art imaginable. We’ve tried to get as much diversity as possible.”

Anderson said the event offers important support to artists who have faced steep challenges making a living through their creations during the pandemic.

“I used to be an architect, and I’m also an author,” Anderson said. “I do not rely on art for my income. Art is my passion, and I will do art whether I make a living with it or not.”

Head to artunlocked.org to see works by Art Unlocked’s other featured art ambassadors, who include Bolanle Adeboye, Federico Cuatlacuatl, Dena Jennings, Jane Skafte, Leo Charre, Martin Geiger, Michael Williams, Nancy Wallace, Robert Bricker, Rose Guterbock, Russell Richards, Toru Oba and Laura Allen.

Tickets for the Nov. 14 benefit are $500. A package including remote bidding and a delivered dinner from Tavola is $200. A call-in for bidders who can’t make it are $25; plan on bidding to begin at about 7 p.m.. Attendance will be limited to 50 or fewer people to help maintain proper social distancing. Masks are required. For tickets and details, go to artunlocked.org.