'25 Feet of Art' celebrates anniversary

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts' "25 Feet of Art" exhibit and auction actually has more than 25 feet.

That’s the joke of exhibit co- chairwoman Shelley Carr, who created one of the 1-square-foot works celebrating the center’s 25th anniversary.

“My piece is called ‘More than 25 Feet,’ ” Carr said. “I took it literally. I have dancing feet; I have bare feet; I have lots of different feet.”

Carr’s etched copper plate and the other 24 works – by artists including Tom Anderson, Janice Arnold, Jennifer Kuhns and Debra Van Tuinen — will be on display for 25 days.

“We wanted a broad cross-section of media,” Carr said. “We have everything from the traditional pastels and paintings to photography, fabric art, copper, steel, enamel, calligraphy, felt. We have mosaics and ceramics. I think we’ve pretty much hit them all.”

The pieces will be up for auction online, with bidding beginning at $25 and going up in increments of $25. “You see, there’s a theme here,” Carr said.

“People can bring their BlackBerries or their iPods or their Droids and bid on the art right there in front of it,” she said. “There will also be a kiosk set up, so people attending performances or at the art reception can bid right there.”

Of course, the other advantage of an online auction is that one need not be present to win.

“People from all over the world can bid, so this really opens up it up,” Carr said. “Friends and relatives can participate.”

The exhibit was inspired by ArtEast’s “100 Feet of Art” auction in Issaquah, said Patrick Rofe, the center’s development director. That event also includes online bidding and is designed to make art more affordable and accessible.

Exhibit co-chairwoman Sally Penley, whose calligraphy is part of the center’s show, had participated in that. “We were going to do a silent auction,” Carr said, “but we thought an online auction would be much more fun and hit a broader audience.”

People already are buzzing about the exhibit.

“Out of the events that we’re having to kick off our 25th anniversary, people are the most interested in the art,” said center marketing director Kevin Boyer. “It’s 25 artists who all have a name in this community.”