The owls that have graced the streets in Saugerties for the summer have all gone to new homes. The 35 owls were auctioned on Sunday, September 18 at the Dutch Barn at Kiersted House. As in the past, Bob Siracusano and Ray Tucker conducted the auction.
The owl sculptures were lined along the walls of the yard outside the barn where patrons could view them before the auction and after a dinner provided by the newest restaurant in town, Salt and Fire. The actual auction was held inside the barn.
The funds raised in the auction are split between the Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event, the artist and a charity selected each year. This year’s recipient was Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, a fitting recipient as the owl sculptures are based on the “Christmas owl” discovered hungry and weak in the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree two years ago. The owl was rehabilitated at Ravensbeard Wildlife Center and returned to the wild after it recovered. The tiny saw whet owl was named Rockefeller, or Rocky for short.
Saugerties Councilwoman Leeanne Thornton had a copy of the book the Wildlife Center Director Ellen Kalish wrote about the discovery and rehabilitation of the tiny owl, which she bought for her three granddaughters. She also bought a small Christmas tree ornament model of the owl, which she said one of her granddaughters insisted should be a permanent Christmas tree ornament.
Peggy Schwartz, the Vice Chair of the Saugerties Chamber of Commerce, said the street art auction, which is in its 14th year, is the biggest fundraiser of the year, though the Chamber sponsors such events as the Sunset Concerts, Holiday in the Village and the Sawyer Motors Car Show, run by Siracusano. “But this event is what really brings us all together,” said Schwartz. In addition to raising money, the show decorates the streets and “really puts Saugerties on the map.” The street art changes from year to year, but the Chamber looks for themes that are relevant to Saugerties
In addition to the volunteers who helped with the work of creating the event, Schwartz gave a special shout out to John Annelid, a Chamber board member who handled the system of online bidding, a new feature of the auction this year. In thanking auctioneers Bob Siracusano and Ray Tucker, Schwartz said she pities the bidders because of “the pressure that Bob puts on you.”
The bidding became really heavy when Antonio Fascilla’s “Night Owl” came up for bidding; the sculpture was sponsored by Ravensbeard and Kalish wanted to buy it back. The bidding reached $1,200, but she finally did get it back.
The auction raised about $30,000, up from $22,000 last year, Siracusano said.