The Hastings Prescott Area Art Council is set to host its annual Gala on Sunday, Sept. 26 and for the second year in a row, will be doing so virtually. HPAAC has been around since 2008, founded by …
The Hastings Prescott Area Art Council is set to host its annual Gala on Sunday, Sept. 26 and for the second year in a row, will be doing so virtually.
HPAAC has been around since 2008, founded by community members in both Hastings and Prescott who felt there was a lack of quality art in both communities. HPAAC is a non-profit that is mainly volunteer-run with a few part-time employees who work in art gallery locations such as Orange Dragon Art Gallery in Prescott and the Hastings Art Center.
Kathy O’Keefe, president of HPAAC, spoke on the success that HPAAC saw from hosting their gala virtually last year and how she hopes to build off that success for this year.
“We've done a lot of advertising and now that it's our second year virtually. I think people are looking for it, so people are kind of prepared for what that looks like and how that works,” O’Keefe said. “We have so many donations and have been incredibly pleased with the number of donations that we've received from our community and throughout the state as well. Be ready to go online bidding for those items. We'll be ready to go online in the next couple of days, so that people can start looking at what we have.”
Some of this year's partnerships with HPAAC for the auction and gala include the River Valley Band, Hastings Art Center, Black Dirt Theater, YMCA, Hastings Community Ed, Pleasant Hill Library and Orange Dragon Art Gallery. Bidding for items begins on Sunday, Sept. 19. Bidding will open online at www.hpaac.org/gala/. Many of the items that will be up for bid at this year’s auction are artwork by local artists in Hastings and Prescott, as well as cooking experiences from local restaurants and chefs.
“We have a lot of experiences and a lot of meals from local restaurants. A lot of people who have donated their services to make a meal. So we've got that meal for 12 authentic tamales made by a woman whose son has received a lot of scholarship money from us. Every year, she donates some meals for auction bidders and opens up her home to share her cooking and family with people,” said O’Keefe.
HPAAC scholarship programs are available for people of all ages who wish to pursue interests in the arts. These scholarships can range anywhere from $50-$500 per student and are available to those who live in Hastings, Prescott, or any of the surrounding rural areas. The scholarship funds go toward lessons, workshops, exhibit or performance entrance fees, school arts activities, supplies, tools and instruments.
“With our scholarship fund, anybody who wants to pursue art lessons can get some financial support from us. Typically, it's kids getting piano lessons, or we have a very successful show choir in our town. We have a lot of high school students that come and get support for the show choir. We've done a lot of different things, mostly scholarships for children, but it also could be adults. There's really no stipulation about that,” said O’Keefe.
As HPAAC looks to grow not only from their upcoming gala but community engagement, one of the main goals of the organization is to create an art commission in partnership with the city of Hastings. Prior to O’Keefe’s tenure as president, the nonprofit had brought in a professor from the University of Minnesota to conduct a three-year study on the Hastings and Prescott communities to find out what impact the arts had at the time and how they could evolve from the time of the study.
From there, HPAAC learned that the impact of the arts could be greater. This has led HPAAC’s newest goal of creating an arts commission in partnership with the Hastings City Council.
“We have been working carefully with the city council, trying to get them to adapt this more art by having a commission that could be a panel of a couple of people that would meet and discuss community art. Or they could look at projects that are happening in the area and how we can have an artful eye on everything that we do in our city,” said O’Keefe.
HPAAC’s auction donations have tiers for each dollar amount that will be used within the organization. For example, $50 will provide art supplies for any local artist for a month; $100 provides a family of four with tickets to a Black Dirt Theater musical. $250 sponsors the Orange Dragon Art Gallery for one month while $500 provides one child or adult with lessons in art, music, dance and other art opportunities.
The auction runs from Sept. 19-26 and ends during the virtual gala which runs from 5:30-7 p.m. on Sept. 26.