Monday, February 09, 2009

The Art League's 42nd Annual Patrons' Show

people lining up for Patron Show
If you were crazy enough to be hanging around Old Town Alexandria about 4 AM on a cold morning last January 17th, about that time you would have noticed people forming a long line in the brutal cold outside the Torpedo Factory. They were waiting for a chance to get original art for their collections – or perhaps some brave souls starting to collect art.

"A line for art?" you must be asking, "who is crazy enough to freeze lining up at Oh-dark-thirty just to buy artwork?"


They were lining up for one of the great art deals of the year: the Art League's Annual Patrons' Show. It's very simple: artists donate original artwork to the Art League, who inspects it, selects it and often frames it. It is quality stuff, ranging from huge abstracts to delicate pencil drawings. The Art League represents nearly 1,800 artists in the area, so there's plenty of possible sources of art donated by generous artists. See some of the donations here.

It is one of the largest art events in the country, with around 600 original works of art finding a new home in one day.

people lining up for Patron ShowUsually about 600 pieces are donated and hung salon style in the Art League’s gallery on the first floor of the Factory. The raffle tickets went up for sale at 10 AM on January 17th, and they usually disappear within an hour or two; and each ticket equals a guaranteed a work of art. Thus as work is donated, more tickets become available.

The Art League's annual Patrons' Show usually features between 500-600 works of fine art donated by Art League and Torpedo Factory artists, and the number of tickets sold matches the number of works donated. The show may be viewed in The Art League Gallery from February 4-15 (or some of them online here, and ticket-holders may come during this time to view the show and note their favorite pieces.

The actual drawing for the 2009 Patrons' Show will be held Sunday, February 15 in the main hall of the Torpedo Factory Art Center.

Thus on that Sunday, February 15 at 5PM, people who have a ticket begin gathering into the main floor of the Factory and they bring chairs, tables, food and loads of booze (this is like an art picnic) as it will be a long, loud, fun, cheery and boozy evening as the tickets are drawn at random; and as they are called, ticket-holders select a piece of art from the work on display on the walls.

Everyone with a ticket is guaranteed a work of art. The tickets cost $175 each - an amazing deal once you see the work that you can get.

The first ticket called gets the first choice and so on - you get to pick the best piece (to you) from around 600 works of art). You better pick one quickly, or the crowds begin to shout and whistle and demand a choice be made.

It is without a doubt, the most sought after art ticket in town, and often incredible acquisitions are made... and I hear that there are some tickets available on the wait list.

Call the Art League at 703/683-1780 and more details here.

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