“It was way more fun than I expected.” “I was surprised how easy it was to build the site and manage the auction software.” “Island artists really stepped up for Zonta.” These and other positive comments reflected the “fun” that the Zonta Club of Sanibel-Captiva unearthed in executing this unusual fundraiser.
As the club looks back on “Peek at the Unique 2021 Repurposed,” it is with satisfaction and gratitude. In common with most other island organizations, the club created a more virtual format for an event that still offered unique elements but was far from the traditional, guided tour of island homes that has been the group’s signature March contribution for nearly 20 years.
Instead of loading eager “Peekers” on to luxury buses, clearly not possible under CDC and COVID-19 regulations, the club set up an online auction and invited local artists to donate works to the cause. More than 30 artists were featured, and two galleries: Sanibel’s Tower Gallery and Bokeelia Art Gallery on Pine Island. Zontian Marianne Ravenna, a Tower Gallery member since 2002, said: “The members were so pleased to be invited to help Zonta’s cause.”
Tower members who participated were JoAnne Bedient, Charlie Brown, Michael Danley, Sally Dutko, Ludmilla Evens, Katie Gardenia, Shah Hadjebi, Sheila Hoen, Sara Kiser, Megan Kissinger, Ikki Matsumoto family, Charlie McCullough Photography, Kelly Morrison, Carole Nastars, Marianne Ravenna, Susan Sadler and Buck Ward. Other donations came from Leslie Anding, Robin Cook, Dick Fortune and Sara Lopez, Jane Hudson, Charlie Frese, Sissi Janku, Toni Ory, Cathy Rabb, Nancy Vorel and several talented Zontians.
Bokeelia Art Gallery donated a limited-edition giclee of a painting by Darryl Pottorf titled “Times of the Islands.” Commissioned by that magazine for its 15th anniversary cover in 2011, the painting featured the style Pottorf perfected during years as a protégé of the late Robert Rauschenberg. The gallery also donated “Dark Sacred Night,” acrylic on canvas by the late Jean Dean. These two items were among the top money raisers in the auction.
In addition, the club hosted a day of appraisals, held in person (masked and socially distanced) at The Blue Giraffe’s new location in Beachview Estates. With professional appraisers providing 15-minute, informal sessions on either jewelry or small antiques, it was a unique approach to valuing family treasures and possessions. “We are so very grateful to our experts, Scot Congress and Carlos Fernandez of Congress Jewelers, and antiques appraiser H. Peter Curran and his wife, Nancy Vorel,” said organizers Halle Smith and Barbara Beran. “Several people were surprised and pleased to learn the approximate value of certain items they owned far exceeded their expectations.”
Zonta also thanks J. McLaughlin women’s wear, which hosted a “Sip & Shop” the same day at their two island locations, donating part of the day’s income to the event. Zontians were on hand to assist shoppers.
Proceeds will be awarded in grants to area non-profits whose work helps empower women and girls. “We would also like to thank our sponsors and benefactors, who generously augmented the funds raised by the auction and the appraisals,” said co-President Susan Tucker. “We hope to return to the traditional home tour for 2022. Meanwhile, donations are always gratefully accepted at our website, ZontaSanCap.org.”