For Booth Western Art Museum Executive Director Seth Hopkins, the For the Love of Art Gala & Art Auction is a memorable event for a multitude of reasons. Along with cherishing the opportunity to honor guest artists and visit with the venue's supporters, he also has a sentimental tie to the Booth's largest annual fundraiser.
"On the Sunday following our gala in 2015, my wife, Joyce, and I got married at the museum and many of our out-of-town friends who were here for the gala were able to stay and attend our reception," he said. "That was a great opportunity to share our special day with so many. It also makes it easy to remember when our anniversary is and allows us to share that celebration with many folks every year.
"When we got married, we established a fund to help pay for school buses to come to the museum, asking attendees to donate to the fund rather than bring presents. We named it the HAAS Fund in honor of our four children: Hadley, Alex, Ansley and Stephen. Since that time, we have raised over $100,000 and brought over 8,000 students to the museum who might not have been able to come. At the gala each year, we do a paddle raise, where patrons can give to the fund in amounts ranging from $100 to $1,000 just by raising their paddle."
To be presented Feb. 23 from 5:30 to 9 p.m., the 11th annual For the Love of Art Gala & Art Auction will debut the Booth Artist of Excellence Award, while continuing to generate funding for the Booth museum.
"We have changed our procedure this year,” Hopkins said. "Rather than awarding the Booth Lifetime Achievement Award, which normally went to ... artists nearing the end of their careers, we have shifted our focus to mid-career artists, whom our attendees are more likely to know and collect, adding more excitement to the event.
"So going forward, we will be recognizing the Booth Artist of Excellence Award recipient. When considering who we intend to honor, we look at their entire body of work, the major milestones in their career, the artwork the museum owns, the recognition they have received in major exhibitions, publications and the marketplace; and how much they have given back to the art world."
Known for his bronze sculptures, charcoal drawings and oil paintings, John Coleman will be the first recipient of the Booth Artist of Excellence Award. Born in Southern California in 1949, the artist started sculpting full time in 1994.
"John Coleman is regarded by many as the best living sculptor of Western subjects," Hopkins said. "Recently he has also begun producing major oil paintings to high acclaim as well.
"The Booth owns all 10 of the pieces he created in his Explorer/Artist series, where he worked from the paintings, drawings and written depictions of artists George Catlin and Karl Bodmer to create three-dimensional depictions of the 10 most interesting Native Americans the two artists ever encountered. This project is one of the most important contributions to the Western art field in the last 100 years."
The For the Love of Art Gala & Art Auction will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception and silent auction. The festivities will continue with a gourmet dinner, live auction and presentation of the Booth Artist of Excellence Award.
"The Booth raised over $128,000 at the 2018 gala from ticket sales, sponsorships, and silent and live art auctions,” said Diane Homesley, Booth’s director of development. “Our auctions are very well-received by the gala attendees. They provide entertainment and an opportunity to take something home that will add value to their lives all while supporting their favorite museum.
"Saturday’s silent auction generally includes about 80 items, including significant pieces of Western art plus a wide range of other opportunities to support the museum, including travel or cooking experiences, jewelry, books and artifacts. Saturday’s live auction is a fast-paced, exciting and entertaining event for the participants and guests as they bid on paintings and sculptures by some of the top artists in the country and unique experiences."
Situated at 501 Museum Drive in Cartersville, the Booth is known worldwide for its extensive collection of contemporary Western art. The 120,000-square-foot venue became an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in 2006. The museum offers a variety of exhibit spaces, some of which include the Civil War gallery; Sculpture Court; a presidential gallery; the “Picturing America” photography gallery; and the interactive children’s gallery, Sagebrush Ranch.
"The gala event began when we decided to have a large celebration to open the museum’s new wing in 2009," Hopkins said. "We added 40,000 square feet to the building and wanted to christen the new space with a major event that would attract collectors from around the country and become a significant fundraiser.
"That year we honored two of the greatest artists in our field, G. Harvey and Howard Terpning, with collectors coming from around the country to be a part of the event. It quickly became the most important and largest annual gathering of Western art collectors in the South. Annually the event attracts nearly 500 attendees and raises $125,000 to $175,000 for the museum’s educational programs, exhibitions and enrichment activities."
Tickets to the gala cost $200 per person and can be purchased by calling 770-387-1541.
For more information about the Booth museum and events surrounding the gala, such as Feb. 22's Boots ‘N’ Saddles, visit www.boothmuseum.org.
"For the first time ever, the Booth will add a Quick Draw and Miniatures Sale to our 2019 pre-event party, Boots ‘N’ Saddles, on Friday, Feb. 22," Homesley said. "These new additions will add enjoyment for our guests and encourage those that are beginning collectors to embark on a fulfilling journey as a Western art collector.
"It also provides the chance for our seasoned collectors with limited wall space to support the Booth by purchasing a smaller piece by a well-known artist and offers participating artists a highly visible marketing opportunity."