Local Arts Favorite Expands Outreach

by Courtney Cerniglia

Leave it to the arts community to get creative about hosting events while the world is still semi-closed from the pandemic. With cautions still in place for large gatherings, the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass’ beloved annual Arts Festival will take on a new persona as an online auction event, “Catching Fire.” This 10-day auction will feature over 70 pieces of artwork and experiences to bid on, topped by a live online auction event on June 9 at 6:45 p.m. 

“It was important to us to honor the legacy of our annual Arts Festival event and in doing so, we created an online auction experience that will benefit artists and the museum’s educational programs alike,” explained the museum’s executive director, Amy Moorefield. “The pandemic has made it increasingly difficult for artists to make a living at their craft. We felt it was important to ensure they receive 50% of the sales from the event in conjunction with 50% going towards our educational program fundraising.” 

This event is a unique spin on art sales not tried before by this organization. Many know the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass as a Neenah community staple, a home for glass collections and features from local and national artists. With their virtual programming normalized by the pandemic, the museum has been able to extend its reach beyond our community and solidify a presence in the global glass art industry. 

We realized our virtual programs gathered a remarkable new audience that we traditionally didn’t have access to. As we honor the spirit of the Arts Festival, we’re also able to make it accessible to our new friends online,” Amy explained.

In doing so, the live auction brings in many amazing pieces up for bid that may not have been included in the traditional Arts Festival format. Italy’s “Maestro of Glass,” Lino Tagliapietra, has a piece up for auction. Artists Ken Rosenfeld, Patti Dougherty, and familiar locals will also have featured pieces up for sale. 

Full installation pieces, functional glassware, jewelry, and of course — paperweights — are just a few of the types of work available for bid. There are also experience packages, including a trip to Italy, a trip to Sonoma, California, personal classes at the studio, and glass-blowing sessions with the artists themselves. 

The event is highlighted by a fun, engaging auction event with an auctioneer online. It’s sure to be an exciting evening benefiting our arts community! 

Registration is free for the event at https://event.gives/catchingfire

Jim Weidert, senior marketing and public relations manager, added, “Moving virtual has allowed us to make lemonade out of lemons for the museum. With events like ‘Catching Fire’ we are able to become more accessible and expand our outreach, keeping the museum alive and integrated into our community and across the globe!”

Missed the auction event? The museum is open to the public at a limited capacity for gallery viewing and classes. Admission is always free! On display this month, “New on View,” which includes selections from recently donated works to the museum. To learn more about the museum exhibits, classes, and other events, visit bmmglass.com.