Arts fundraiser hopes for new record

Carla Clark | For The Republic Artist Kevin Zeigler with Julie and Dan Del Genio during Uncommon Cause, Future Focus, a fundraiser for the arts held at Harrison Lake Country Club, Columbus, Indiana, Saturday, August 6, 2022.

The theme of “Future Focus” was so sharp at Saturday’s annual Uncommon Cause arts fundraiser that a record gross total of $227,300 will also boost the present time for the nonprofit Columbus Area Arts Council.

Brooke Hawkins, the arts council’s interim executive director, said she was impressed with the community-wide support among a crowd of 250 people at Harrison Lake Country Club.

“The space was full and lively,” Hawkins said.

The event featured food from chefs Dan and Amber Gruden, live music from local pop-rock cover band Flat Earth, an art store with one-of-a-kind creations from local artists and designers and a live auction. The top-earning auction item was a private fresh seafood-and-wine dinner for 10 people with local chef Gethin Thomas and a boat ride on Grandview Lake. It went for $12,500.

The previous record gross total was set in 2019 at $215, according to records. Hawkins said she is uncertain if the current figure will translate to a net record after expenses are paid since some costs have risen substantially amid the pandemic.

“We’re still amid COVID-19, and we’re in the middle of a transition in leadership,” Hawkins said. “So, against all odds, the community really came together and rallied around the arts. And we’re really grateful for that.

“I think that’s a good reflection of the work that the organization has done in the past and continues to do — and that people believe in the work and think it’s important.”

Part of the evening’s theme was built around building support for the current and future upkeep of the area’s public art, including such pieces as the Eos sculpture at the Mill Race Park entrance and the Henry Moore Large Arch work on the Bartholomew County Public Library Plaza.

Toward that goal, a local art “pop-up shop” attracted fundraising buyers.

“It was a huge hit,” Hawkins said, adding that several items sold out. “People loved it — partly because it was something different.”

That “Fund a Need” segment of the event raised $68,000, considered a substantial amount. Hawkins said a mix of agencies, including Landmark Columbus Foundation and the Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives, will work out details about cataloging all the public art and working out maintenance details to be tracked through the years.

The store included everything from custom-printed carry-all bags created by Alfonso Wadholm to Vans shoes featuring the Sixth Street Arts Alley design. Daniel Martinez and Lulu Loquidis created the shoes. Items not yet sold currently are available for purchase at the Columbus Area Visitors Center.

“We ordered a ton of extra stock,” Hawkins said. “So now it’s a cool, added bonus that all these local artists will have their work featured in the visitors center.”

For more

Local artist and designer one-of-a-kind gifts are available from the Columbus Area Visitors Center at 506 Fifth St. in downtown Columbus from the overflow stock from the Uncommon Cause pop-up shop.