Watching paint dry isn’t usually considered an exciting prospect.
But the annual Wet Paint Auction aims to make the activity a fun one, with just-created works up for bid in a fundraiser for the Newburyport Commission for Diversity and Tolerance.
More than 30 artists will set up their easels throughout Newburyport tomorrow morning, working outdoors if weather permits, and spend the day painting. Orange flags or signs will state that they are participating in the Wet Paint Auction, so admiring passers-by will know they have the opportunity to own the pieces if they so desire.
“The spirit and the tradition of the event is to see what you can produce in a day,” said Kathleen Shaw, one of the organizers.
Shaw highlights the diversity of the work, saying that she is always amazed at how many different scenes of Newburyport are captured.
“You end up getting a wide variety of things from the local area,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had any duplicates.”
Artists are required to submit their paintings to the Mission Oak Grill by late afternoon, when they are hung in Steeple Hall in preparation for the preview party at 6:30 p.m. The party gives guests a chance to see the art before the auction and to enjoy live music by classical guitarist Donna Ricci.
A silent auction also starts at 6:30 and features another 20 pieces of artwork, along with items such as pottery and jewelry. Additionally, there will be hors d’oeuvres, desserts and a cash bar.
At 7:30, the live auction begins, with Marc Clopton of The Actors Studio of Newburyport serving as the auctioneer.
“We’ve wanted to highlight local celebrities,” Shaw said. Last year, former Firehouse director John Budzyna did the honors.
Because the paintings are still wet, the “Vanna Whites” walking around displaying each painting have to be really careful, Shaw said.