Regarded as one of the Southeast’s largest annual gathering of Western art collectors, the For the Love of Art Gala & Art Auction will continue to serve as the Booth Western Art Museum’s top benefit Feb. 20.“First and foremost, it is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” Booth Executive Director Seth Hopkins said. “It raises money to support our educational programs and exhibitions and operations here at the museum, but we also try to make it a fun gathering for Western art fans and collectors from throughout the Southeast who come together.“It’s probably the largest gathering annually of Western art collectors in the Southeast that we have gotten to know. [They] like to come together and have camaraderie with each other and support the museum.”The black tie-optional event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception, silent auction and tours of the “Ansel Adams: Before & After” and “Three Point Perspective: Dean, Elliott & Hagege” exhibitions. At 7:30 p.m. patrons will be treated to a seated dinner in the Booth Ballroom, followed by a live auction, performance by Granville Automatic and the presentation of the Booth Lifetime Achievement Award to Tom Hill.“We tried to establish this award — seven or eight years ago when we first started it — as a recognition of an artist in the permanent collection whose work we greatly admire, and feel like he’s had a long and important career, and had an impact on the Western art world,” Hopkins said. “Tom is probably the most accomplished watercolorist in our collection, in the Western art world over the last 40 or 50 years. [He] was an important illustrator in his early career and has taught a lot of watercolor workshops and demonstrations around the country. And [he has] really helped a lot of other artists grow in addition to the stellar career that he’s had in his own right.”Located at 501 Museum Drive, the Booth is known worldwide for its extensive collection of contemporary Western art, holding the distinction of housing the largest permanent exhibition space for Western art in the nation. The 120,000-square-foot museum, which became an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in 2006, offers a variety of exhibit spaces, some of which include the Civil War gallery, Sculpture Court, a presidential gallery and the interactive children’s gallery, Sagebrush Ranch.The Booth’s For the Love of Art Gala & Art Auction generated more than $180,000 last year, with the majority raised through the event’s auctions.“The auction certainly is the reason why we’re able to have an event as successful as the gala,” Booth Development Director Matt Jarrard said. “The ticket price for an event like this covers your bar and your hors d’oeuvres and your three-course gourmet meal. The proceeds that we raise from this auction are what support the many young people’s programs we have throughout the year at the museum and our robust exhibition schedule here at the Booth. So it really is the silent and live auctions that make a difference.“We’re going to have over 60 different items, ranging from painting to sculpture to jewelry to experiential items, like a cowboy poetry experience. We have things that run the gamut, [such as artwork from] from our local folks here in Cartersville that are members of our photography and artist guilds to some nationally renowned artists, like Krystii Melaine, Russell Case, Earl Biss and Harley Brown — all nationally known Western artists who have been here to the Booth and loved this place enough that they are contributing these works of art at no cost to us for us to auction off at this auction. So we’re not only relying on the generosity of our patrons that come support the gala, but we also rely on the generosity of these artists to make the contributions of these [pieces of] art.”Tickets to For the Love of Art Gala & Art Auction are $150 per person and can be purchased by calling 770-387-1541.According to the Booth’s news release, “To provide more opportunities to interact with the artists in attendance, patrons can attend two additional events supporting the Museum, Boots ‘N’ Saddles and Brunch with Artists. On Friday, February 19, Friends of the Booth will host a fun evening ‘under the southwestern sky’ at Boots ‘N’ Saddles, a pre-Gala party. This Gala weekend kick-off event is being held at Tellus Science Museum and will consist of cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, music and dancing. Tickets are $50 per person. On Saturday, February 20, a Brunch with Artists will be available at the host hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn Cartersville. This is an informal opportunity to mix and mingle with honored guest Tom Hill and his wife Barbara. Tickets are $25 per person.“In addition to the events and auctions, patrons have an opportunity to purchase raffle tickets to win two paintings. Artist Michael Untiedt’s piece To Ride the Pale Horse portrays a lone cowboy and his horse underneath the starry Western sky. This 12 x 16” oil painting is valued at $2,800 and a winner will be drawn during Boots ‘N’ Saddles. The second raffle will be for a 21 x 29” watercolor of Tom Hill’s entitled Buying Ollas, Tlacolula. It is valued at $3,500 and will be drawn during the For the Love of Art Gala & Art Auction. Raffle tickets are $100 each or three for $250. Winners need not be present to win and are responsible for shipping.”For more information about these events and to view auction items, visit http://boothmuseum.org.