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“Antiques Roadshow” event raises funding for school arts programs

on April 9, 2011

More than a hundred people gathered at Clars Auction Gallery in Oakland’s Temescal District on Thursday to have their valuables appraised and to support arts education in Oakland public schools.

The “Antiques Roadshow” was organized by the Oakland Fund for the Arts, a nonprofit organization that raises money for hands-on underserved Oakland public schools, and Clars Auction Gallery, which hosted the event for the second time.

“We deal with art every day so we are glad to help promote it at schools,” said Redge Martin, the gallery’s president. ”The auctions are often mysterious for the public so it is also a chance for us to familiarize people with it.”

After buying a ticket for $35 guests could have their valuables appraised by professionals, take part in a special auction and raffle, enjoy snacks and get a sneak preview of Clars weekend auction items. All the money collected during the event was donated to support the Oakland Fund for the Arts in its efforts to promote arts education.

Laurie Pitman, a board member for the fund, believes that art is essential in developing creativity and critical thinking among students. “Look at the example of Gabby Giffords,” she said, referring to the Arizona congresswoman who survived a shooting in January, and is currently recovering from a brain injury. “In order to speak again she is going through music therapy and learning to sing. Art is essential in our life but the state doesn’t give money for arts education.”

Since 1996, the Oakland Fund for the Arts has raised money to fund programs that place artists and cultural resources in Oakland’s inner city schools. One of those programs is Afro-Brazilian Dance at Sankofa Academy, an Oakland public elementary school. The school’s principal, Monique Brinson, says that the kids learn more than just dancing skills. “It is much more than dance. It is their gateway to other countries, it’s all about global connections,” she said. “They are introduced to Afro-Brazilian history. They get a knowledge about themselves as part of the African Diaspora but also learn to connect to American culture.”

During the “Antiques Roadshow” guests could also watch an Afro-Brasilian dance show and meet young dancers from Sankofa Academy.

“I like arts classes very much,” said ten-years-old Evelyn Canal who is a student at Sankofa. “You can learn how to dance and how children in other countries dance. You can also express yourself.”

Deborah Coggins, who visited the auction gallery on Thursday, was happy to back the idea of promoting art at schools. She was also nicely surprised at what the appraiser told her the value some tapestries she brought to the event. “Today I brought two old Turkish kilims for appraisal and apparently they are worth three times more than I thought,” Coggins said.

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Photo by Basil D Soufi
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