Museum holds Benefit Dinner, Silent Art Auction

The 17th annual North Dakota Museum of Art Gala Benefit Dinner and Silent Art Auction will be held Saturday, Feb. 2, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Benefit Dinner, which is both a prominent social event and successful fundraiser for the Museum, will be held in the elegant galleries of the North Dakota Museum of Art. Justin Welsh of the Museum Café is the master chef for the gourmet meal. Dress is black tie optional, and valet service is provided. Reservations are $95 per person. The tables seat eight and arrangements can be made for parties to be seated together.

Lowell Schweigert and Becky Hulett are chairing this year’s planning committee. A dedicated volunteer committee, along with numerous sponsors, make this evening possible. Once again, this year’s underwriting sponsor is Merrill Lynch. In addition, over 40 private and corporate sponsors are committed to supporting the Benefit Dinner this year.

As with each of the previous benefits, a silent art auction will be held throughout the evening. Matthew Wallace of the North Dakota Museum of Art curated this year's Silent Art Auction. Over 50 pieces from regional, national, and international artists are for sale. The auction includes work by emerging artists as well as contemporary artisans. The pieces will be circulated throughout the dinner by walking-easels. All artists’ reserve bids begin at $100. This year’s auction includes work by Zhimin Guan, Mark Anthony, Mary Jo Titus, Michelle Brusegaard, Walter Piehl, Jon Olson, Kathryn Lipke, Adam Kemp, Jennifer Nelson, Ingrid Lincoln, Carol Jones, Guillermo Guardia, Lena McGrath Welker, Morgan Owens, Daniel Sharbono, Ryan Frates, John Postovit, Charlotte Lewis, Cyrus Swann, Patrick Luber, Jeff Amann, Dan Jones, Jessica Christy, Ross Rolshoven and many others. Several artists have donated all proceeds from the sale of their work to the Museum as they have in the past. The artwork on the mezzanine is ready for preview, and will be open to viewing until the night of the auction.

A major fundraising component for the auction will be a raffle for a sculpture by Guillermo Guardia. One hundred chances will be sold for this piece at $25 a ticket. The raffle drawing will be held at the end of the evening.

The gourmet meal will be supervised by Chef Justin Welsh of the Museum Café and prepared and served in cooperation with Dining Services. It includes such dishes as pork loin medallions smothered in garlic, parsley and cognac cream sauce, chive and yam mashed potato and gyoza with chili sauce. Welsh has been at the Museum since January 2006 after graduating from Le Cordon Bleus Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Ore., and also participating in a 14-month program learning classical French cuisine. Vegetarian meals will be provided with prior request. Fine wines chosen by wine connoisseur Michael McCullough will accompany the meal. Jan Heitmann of All Seasons and artist Adam Kemp will design the centerpieces at each of the tables, and also special gallery decorations.

Proceeds from the dinner reservations, art and raffle sales are used for programming and exhibitions at the North Dakota Museum of Art. Exhibitions would not be possible without funds collected at this and other fundraising events, and generous contributions from sponsors, both corporate and individual.

For information about making a reservation or volunteering, call 777-4195.

The Museum is located on Centennial Drive in Grand Forks. The Museum is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. The Museum café in open weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with lunch served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
-- Brian Lofthus, Assistant to the Director, North Dakota Museum of Art,, 777-4195