By Crystal Harrell
A trademark of spring festivities comes in the form of colorful eggs strewn across grassy lawns left by the Easter Bunny for eager children to find. The Old Town Artisan Studios is holding its first-ever online Eggstravaganza auction event. Over 300 painted eggs will be on display in the Leland Gallery at the art campus located in Old Town La Quinta. Each egg has been hand painted by local artists, friends of the studio, some local celebrities, and a few public figures. The eggs are decorated in many different mediums such as watercolor, oil, acrylic, pen and ink, and coffee. All of the proceeds will be used to fund the Old Town Artisan Studios’ enormous outreach program.
“We found artists loved the challenge of painting on a wee ceramic egg and did so in many mediums. We did share that the show was a year away and we did hope to have the auction online and in the wonderful Leland Gallery on the Old Town Artisan Studios art campus with a reception for the artists and an open house for the public. Our volunteer/professional photographer Robert Marcos, and other volunteers collecting the eggs for a year, guaranteed that the beautiful images would be seen online,” explained Old Town Artisan Studios founder Victory Grund.
The eggs went on display March 1 in the gallery, but only to be viewed as small numbers of people come by and with gallery volunteers to help monitor capacity protocol and explain how to register online to bid in the auction. The collection of eggs has been a year in the making, however, as the Artisan Studio volunteers started reaching out to local artists immediately when the pandemic started, creating a domino effect when other local artists asked to participate. They knew the mission was to provide free Art2Go kits and free art classes for children, seniors, and the non-profits the Artisan Studios serve. Many participating artists have also expressed how it helped them through the restless time period of the shutdown last March.
The Old Town Artisan Studios plans to hold an annual Eggstravaganza every spring. In the winter, they will be able to once again hold the annual Gingerbread Lane, which had close to 5,000 guests over four Saturdays in December and featured Santa Claus in the Santa Cottage. Next year’s Eggstravaganza is scheduled to have Grandma Bunny make her debut helping kids paint eggs in the courtyard at the campus.
“The egg signifies ‘new beginnings’ and we felt by March 2021, we would have ‘new beginnings’. Our staff knows that we see art as a means of healing depression and pain. We see every day what art can express in ways that words cannot. We are committed to finding and following the healthy and safe guidelines, and our staff was able to stay busy creating the kits. As it became possible, students of all ages are able to take classes with guidelines in reduced numbers and large spacing. Last year, even with a global pandemic, we were able to serve over 24,000 art experiences,” said Victory Grund.
All of the sponsor funding and auction proceeds have allowed Old Town Artisan Studios to purchase over 6,000 eggs and supplies for Art2Go kits going valley-wide to schools, the outreach non-profits they have served for years, and families throughout the Coachella Valley through FIND Food Bank and others for distribution. In addition to the Art2Go kits last year, the studio staff has created small ceramic pieces like flowers, cacti, and butterflies for thousands of art kits, now over 26,000.
The 2021 Eggstravaganza auction will close on April 1 at 12 p.m. Those interested in participating must be registered to place a bid and buy now. Bidding for all VIP eggs tagged in the VIP category will end when the auction closes. There will be no Buy Now option and no bidding cap for VIP eggs. Any bid of 100 dollars or more placed for a general non-VIP egg will automatically win the egg and end the auction for that individual egg. By placing a bid, participants are agreeing to purchase the item if they are the winning bidder. The winning bidder is named if the bid is the highest bid when the auction closes or if you are the first bidder to place a bid of 100 dollars or more on a general (non-VIP) egg. All eggs won or purchased will be available for pickup or shipping within 48 hours of payment being completed. Shipping is an additional flat-rate fee of 9 dollars per shipment and is limited to the United States.
“My favorite part about the auction is that artist of all ages and abilities participated. Our professional artists, hobbyists, all the way to our Boys and Girls Club teens and our special needs students, loved being a part of the show and loved helping the work of the mission. We are looking forward to seeing families back to create memories and discover the joy and healing of art. We have added new painting rooms and the over a dozen kilns can be working again. Our instructors cannot wait to be one-on-one with students in schools and non-profits we serve. The Alzheimers groups and caregivers returning will be the most wonderful day we can imagine,” said Victory Grund.
To learn more about the auction or the Old Town Artisan Studios, visit oldtownartisanstudios.org.