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Skinner partners with Artists for Humanity in philanthropic auction

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Skinner partners with Artists for Humanity in philanthropic auction
“Boston Massacre Reboot with Crispus Attucks” Robert Tomolillo print made with Artists for Humanity. IMAGE: COURTESY OF SKINNER

Skinner auctions has partnered with Artists for Humanity to host their first grassroots, no buyer’s premium auction, a philanthropic initiative titled “Art. Action. Auction.” Running July 22-August 3, proceeds from the donated 79 lots will go towards Artists for Humanity with an additional $25,000 match from Skinner.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Anna Ward, deputy director of fine wines at Skinner and Kristina Harrison, lead designer at Skinner, went to work brainstorming ways for young people of color to access and experience the auction world. Ward and Harrison partnered with Jason Talbot, co-founder and special projects director at Artists for Humanity, and Courtney Ford, director of donor and corporate engagement at Artists for Humanity to bring the auction to life.

Kitauna Parker. “Fear Not.” Signed. Acrylic and paraffin on wood, 24 x 24 in., unframed. IMAGE: COURTESY OF SKINNER

“There’s a certain lack of diversity in the auction realm, so to be able to have our diverse community interact with the inner workings of an auction house will hopefully encourage some of these young Black and brown artists we work with to pursue careers in that realm and have better representation there,” says Talbot.

Teen artists at AFH are learning and participating in the inner workings of an auction. The youth artists at the AFH studio took many of the photographs that will be used for the online auction lots. It was an opportunity to handle and experience valuable artworks they might not have otherwise been exposed to, while utilizing their photographic skills.

“The whole idea of the auction was to inspire teens to continue to pursue art in some way for the rest of their lives,” says Ward. “We thought no better place to look than to the staff at Skinner who embrace art in a lot of different ways.”

Lynn Ray, “Swimming with Parrotfish,” 2019. Signed and titled on the reverse. Oil on canvas, 40 x 30 in., unframed. IMAGE: COURTESY OF SKINNER

The lots for the auction will be presented in person at the AFH building for interested art lovers and potential buyers to view during a reception July 28 from
5 – 7 p.m. or by appointment for the duration of the auction.

The lots, all donated by Skinner employees and AFH’s artists and network, present a diverse set of offerings. Buyers will find an Ellsworth Kelly print, works by local artists and pieces from AFH alumni. The AFH teens worked with printmaker Bob Tomolillo to reimagine a classic Paul Revere engraving of the Boston Massacre to include Crispus Attucks, a Black man who was the first killed in the massacre. One of these prints will be up for auction.

Both Skinner and Artists for Humanity hope to scale the collaboration into a greater partnership, perhaps with internship or extended learning opportunities for young people in the Greater Boston community. Ward and Harrison encourage young artists to reach out to industry professionals with queries.

“I love to see it when we’re able to open the doors and help our teens see themselves and be comfortable in these types of environments,” says Talbot. “They can start to see themselves being viable, entrepreneurial participants in the artist community and that includes in auction houses.”

Artists for Humanity, arts, auction, Skinner, visual arts