Photos by David Gordon
An auction of the colorful lighthouses that graced Saugerties streets this summer raised nearly $30,000, according to unofficial estimates following the bidding.
Thirty-three of the lighthouses were auctioned off on the lawn of the Kiersted House; one was raffled, and one of the original 35 lighthouses, “C’est un Phare,” was stolen.
The event was chaired by Bob Siracusano and Marjorie Block. It, along with the four previous auctions, was sponsored by the Saugerties Chamber of Commerce. In his opening address, Chamber President Mark Smith said the event serves three functions. “One is to show off the local art; how many artists we have locally, and what the talent is here. The second is to bring tourists to Saugerties to see the art, and the third is to raise money for local charities and not-for-profits.”
At the close of the auction, Smith said he was pleased with the turnout and the enthusiasm of the attendees.
The funds are split three ways, divided by thirds: one-third to the artist who created the lighthouse, another third to the Chamber of Commerce to support next year’s public art event and the final third divided up between the Saugerties Historical Society, the Saugerties Artists Studio Tour and the Village Tree Commission.
The lighthouses were designed and assembled by local craftsman Gus Pedersen, who said he spent about two months on the project. The artists and organizers praised his design as closer to the actual lighthouse than the previous design, which was auctioned in 2011.
The food service included hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, consumed standing at tall tables. Refreshments also included wine and beer. Some of the area’s finest restaurants provided the food, including Sue’s, Mirabella, Dutch Ale House, Lucky Chocolates and Café Mezzaluna.
Block said she was glad to see that a portion of the proceeds went directly to the artists who provided their work. In addition to creating the lighthouses, many of them also helped to carry the works for the auction, set up and perform other tasks. She also praised Tad and Pat Richards of Opus 40 for donating a good deal of labor, as well as other community members.
“We (the community) have asked a lot of our artists over the years. This year they are getting something for their work,” Block said.
Cherwin said he was impressed by the level of energy this year. “We raised more money this year than last,” he said.
Top sellers included Tara Richardson’s Home and Garden ($2,900), Donna and Russell Parisi’s Greased Lightning 1950s ($3,000) and Alex Kveton’s Timeless Mechanics ($4,000).
In addition to the lighthouses, the auction included karate lessons, a flat-screen television set, a wine of the month membership, a night at the Saugerties Lighthouse, a scholarship to the School of Rock and a photograph of Elizabeth Taylor. A request for donations for the completion of the barn at Kiersted House raised more than $1,900.