Donation Buoys BSU Art Metals Silent Auction 

"Butterfly" was made collaboratively by two Boise State students for the Art Metals Silent Auction.

Anika Smulovitz

"Butterfly" was made collaboratively by two Boise State students for the Art Metals Silent Auction.

R. Grey Gallery on Eighth Street in Boise has hosted the Boise State University Art Metals Silent Auction for the past 15 years. Typically, the auction includes a spread of 15 to 20 art objects and jewelry pieces made by BSU Art Metals Professor Anika Smulovitz's students, plus occasional alumni works, but over the years the number of both students and pieces has dwindled. This year's auction is the exception: an infusion of works from the private collection of gallery co-owner Barbara Kaylor has more than doubled the pieces up for grabs.

"Every year, I've purchased one or more pieces ... So, I had quite a big collection and I thought, 'Well, I'm going to donate those back and see if we can get some more money to give back to the university,'" said Kaylor.

click to enlarge "Watching You" by Ellen Crosby is up for auction at R. Grey Gallery. - ANIKA SMULOVITZ
  • Anika Smulovitz
  • "Watching You" by Ellen Crosby is up for auction at R. Grey Gallery.

The pieces on display are mostly silver, copper, bronze and brass, but introduce other materials too, like wood, glass, felt and even fur. Kaylor's favorite piece up for resale is a brooch made by past BSU student Ellen Crosby, which she purchased at the 2007 auction.

"When it's closed it looks like shutters from a window. And you open it up, and there's a photo in there of a person," Kaylor said, describing the piece titled "Watching You."

According to Smulovitz, the students have a lot of free reign over the works they create, although she presents them with different challenges each year. Sometimes, there's a theme for the auction. In other years, students pass pieces back and forth round-robin style, each working on them for 45 minutes. This year, two students worked with each piece.

"It's a very different way of working and problem solving, usually you have a lot more control. So that's kind of a fun way to get them to loosen up and think in a different way," said Smulovitz. Though the auction may seem like a small fundraiser from the outside, it's a vital source of income for the Art Metals program.

"Usually we raise about a third of our working income for the year," said Smulovitz. "The other two-thirds are raised with student fees."

The auction generally nets between $700 and $1,200 to pay for supplies and visiting artists, but both Kaylor and Smulovitz have their fingers crossed for a bumper year. Bidding on 31 works (13 from students, 18 from Kaylor) is ongoing at the gallery through Monday, April 30.


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