By Brianna Boyd
Special to Dixon Patch
Talented artists and their many incredible pieces will be showcased this year at the 137th annual Dixon May Fair.
When the Dixon May Fair kicks off this week, it will not only feature an expanded art show, but also the first annual juried art auction.
The May Fair’s Education Committee and Solano College are teaming up to bring this exciting event to the fairgrounds on Wednesday, May 9, the evening before the fair opens for its four-day run.
The gala – which will feature 10 live auction pieces and 25 silent auction items – will begin with a social at 4:30 p.m. near the fair’s Fine Arts building for all participating artists and invited guests. Live auction bidding will begin right at 6:30 p.m. and the silent auction will be ongoing throughout the evening.
The live auction items include a hand made guitar, a squirrel made from recycled metal, an acrylic painting of the historic Milk Farm sign, a painting of a dairy farm and two pieces submitted by children.
Jeanne Lorenz, a fine arts professor at Solano College who will be co-hosting the auction with Janene Whitesell, was one of three artists who juried the 151 entries submitted for the event to pick the 35 that would be showcased.
“We were looking at the pieces and thinking about which ones people would be most interested in living with,” she said. “The nice thing about the auction is that there is a variety. We have photography, drawings, paintings, printmaking and even an etching.
“We chose 35 of the most interesting pieces that represent the theme of the fair, ‘This Is My Country’,” she added. “When you look at the work of the group, you really see there is an overview of different mediums and viewpoints, which in turn reflect the theme and an overarching American way of looking at things. People are allowed a voice in any medium that they choose.”
All 151 pieces submitted for the auction will be on display in the art building from opening day May 10 until the fair closes May 13. The auction items will also be available for viewing.
Although there is always some uncertainty when an event is planned for the first time, Lorenz said she has been thrilled with the response from area artists. There are people coming to the auction from Rio Vista, Woodland, Benicia, Vallejo and beyond.
“It’s a pretty wide audience,” she said. “It’s going to be interesting to get in the tent and realize people don’t necessarily know one another because they are from so many different places. It’s going to be fun to come together as an art community for the art community.”
The artists participating in this auction will receive 60 percent of the sales for their work. Solano College’s art department will receive 30 percent of the profits and the May Fair will receive 10 percent, which will cover the cost of the event.
The Dixon May Fair and Solano College are spreading the word that the hope is to continue the art auction for many years to come. Lorenz would love to see many additional artists participate in 2013.
“There were some artists whose work we felt were really strong but they weren’t included in the auction because they didn’t want to sell their work,” she explained. “They have one precious piece and they didn’t want to auction it. We hope that if people start thinking now about next year’s auction, they can make a piece specifically for the event.”
In addition to the art auction, Solano College and the May Fair are also partnering to bring the Solano Steamroller Smackdown to the fair on May 11 and 12. Local artists, as well as students from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco State University, Solano College, the San Francisco Art Institute and others will create large-scale printmaking projects using a 12-ton black and white steamroller. It will be rolling through the fair and spinning the inky imagery, and all prints and t-shirts will be available for sale. Proceeds will benefit Solano College’s art department.
“We had such a strong response from professional artists and we are really looking forward to printing their work and seeing it on display,” Lorenz said. “People can come and watch this process unfold. It’s the oldest form of printmaking. All the printmaking we do now, including photography and digital, evolved from this form. It’s really exciting to use really basic tools and make really complicated images.”
The Dixon May Fair will open on Thursday, May 10 and entertain thousands of visitors through Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 13. The fair will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. all four days, with a “soft” opening planned the evening of Wednesday, May 9. For more information, visit www.dixonmayfair.com.