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Keokuk Art Center Adjusts During "A Strange Year for Everybody"

Nov 16, 2020

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced the Keokuk Art Center to make changes to its primary fundraiser. The 31st annual Festival of Trees auction is taking place online instead of during a gala reception.

“We knew about mid-year we wouldn’t be able to hold the normal Festival of Trees that we’ve planned in the past,” said Tom Seabold, Executive Director of the Keokuk Art Center.

So, he said, the art center decided to hold the auction online. They’re using the Bidding Owl website. You can view the auction items here. The auction began last week and ends at 8:00 pm. on Tuesday, November 24.

Money raised during the annual Festival of Trees supports the art center’s programs. Seabold said the center normally sells 10-15 decorated Christmas trees during a live auction as part of the event. That was not possible this year, which makes the online auction even more important.

He said it also was not possible after mid-March to hold monthly exhibits or other events and programs. He’s looking forward to better times.

“This has been, of course, a strange year for everybody,” he said. “We’re still working on fundraising to hopefully have a better 2021.”

Sandy Seabold, who helped organize the auction, said the online format is working out well. “The neat thing is that now we can reach people all over. It’s not just people in this area,” she said. “It’s pretty cool.”

The Seabolds said bids have already come in from as far away as Hawaii.

Sandy Seabold said most of the artwork in the auction is by local artists, and a couple of pieces were done by Laura Van Pappelendam, who was born in Donnellson in 1883.

“She taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The Van Pappelendam family donated several pieces to the art center and a couple of those are in the auction,” Sandy Seabold said.

“She’s in major museums all around the country. They’re really nice pieces.”

The auction features 88 items, including:

  • Antiques
  • Art
  • Coins
  • Gift baskets
  • Gift certificates
  • Handcrafted items
  • Holiday decorations
  • Jewelry and watches
  • Keokuk memorabilia
  • Music
  • Photography
  • Pottery and glass

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