Toe River Arts Council in Spruce Pine, NC, Hosts 39th Annual Benefit Auction – July 9, 2016


The Toe River Arts Council hosts its “39th Annual Benefit Auction” on Saturday, July 9, 2016, in downtown Spruce Pine, NC, just an hour or so north of Asheville. But the event begins a few weeks before on June 18 when Silent Auction bidding begins and a special 8×8 Exhibit opens downstairs at the Spruce Pine Gallery.

This year the gallery will showcase the best in artistry and crafts in both the Live and Silent Auction from June 18 through the day of the Live Auction and Party on the 9th. Local artists, many internationally known, who call this mountainous rural region of the Blue Ridge home, have donated work.

Also, the Arts Council is mounting an exhibit and sale of 8” x 8” works of art. In addition to inviting artists to participate, TRAC has opened up the creative minds of Mitchell and Yancey school art students and invited them to use their young talents and support the Council. TRAC provided each donating artist and student a wood frame on which they could create and donate it back. Two-dimensional artists colored the fronts while other three-dimensional artists worked with the recessed back, all demonstrating the inventiveness of folks in the area. These pieces will go on exhibit and sale June 18. The adult works will be sold for $75, the student work for $50. And when they’re gone, they are gone.

Even though the Live and Silent Auction pieces will be side by side on the first floor of the Spruce Pine Gallery, the Silent auction pieces really hold sway during the two weeks leading up to the live event. Silent bidding happens from 10:30am on June 18 through 6pm on July 9; there is no bidding fee. And those who can’t make the event can enter sealed bids via phone or in person and keep their fingers crossed.

The Live Auction and Party begins at 7pm upstairs in the Arts Resource Center. A real down-home dinner is being provided by the 2015 Spruce Pine BBQ Festival winner, Wayne Jackson. Frozen daiquiris and  Jeff McDowell’s handmade beer will flow along with the instrumentals of guitarist Jared McQueen and keyboardist Bill Gerhardt. At 7:30pm, Jeff Goodman will begin auctioning off work from some of the most renowned artists in the country—all in support of the non-profit TRAC. Monies raised support the many Arts Council-sponsored school and community programs in the region. Although partially funded by grants from the North Carolina Arts Council, TRAC depends upon the generosity of their patrons in order for them to keep providing arts experiences, interactions, and education to those who call the Toe River Valley home.

Tickets are $40 per person, and there is limited seating. For those who can’t make the Live Auction & Party, there will be a special wine and cheese reception (with root beer floats for students and their friends) earlier in the afternoon from 4:30 to 7pm in the Gallery.

“Red Lily” by Yaffa and Jeff Todd (photography by Mary Vogel)

Each year, TRAC features one signature piece. 2016 puts Yaffa and Jeff Todd’s “Red Lily” on center pedestal. Yaffa was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. She received her MFA from Rochester Institute of Technology and has taught at Penland  School of Crafts (the second woman to do so) and Goddard College. Jeff Todd, from Philadelphia, majored in jewelry and glass at Southern Illinois University. He became interested in glass in the early 1970s, taking classes at SIU and at the Penland School. His talent for design, drawing and equipment building made him a perfect match for Yaffa. They met in 1980, when Yaffa was building her studio and Jeff stopped by to see if he could help. Within a few months they were working together, a few years later they married and now make their home and studio in Celo, NC.

“Poppies” 8×8 Encaustics by Barbara McGuire

The TRAC Annual Benefit Art Auction should prove to be another winner for those who donate and those who bid and win. The first Auction was held 39 years ago. Artists have come and gone; a lot have stayed to raise their families and awareness of the arts. Some nationally recognized artists, like Jane Peiser and Kenny Pieper continue to lend their support by donating “best pieces” to the Auction. Over three decades years later, the membership has grown, the support and enthusiasm with it.

The Spruce Pine Gallery (269 Oak Avenue) is open from 10:30am to 5pm, Monday-Saturday. Go online ( or call (828/682-7215) to make your reservation for TRAC’s 39th Annual Benefit Auction now. Then plan to visit the Spruce Pine Gallery and place your silent bids or purchase an 8×8 work of art off the wall from June 18 until the day of the Auction, July 9.

The Toe River Arts Council is a non-profit organization founded in 1976 to promote the arts in Mitchell and Yancey Counties and partially funded by grants from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Natural and Cultural Resources Department, a state agency, and from people around the community and the county who understand the benefits the arts play in developing a individual and a thriving region.

For more information, please visit the website at (


Tags: , , , , , , ,