The source of one of the most successful student art sales in the country is upping the ante. On Friday the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) will hold its first auction, a collection of 56 pieces from top MCAD emerging and established artists.

The auction is considerably smaller than the annual art sale in November, which features more than 6,000 works by students and recent grads that range from $10 to $1,500. The auction, which began online on May 22, features work from MCAD's emerging and established artists.

The auction will feed the growing appetite of its art sale collectors who want "bigger, better stuff," said Lars Mason, the college's director of academic services.

The auction is also different because it's the first time that the majority of the proceeds go to the college instead of the artist. The November art sale has always been unique in giving 80 percent of the sale price back to the artist. Most student art sales benefit the college with students getting very little, said Mason. In the sale's 15 year history, the school has paid out $1.8 million to students. Last year, the sale took in $365,000, Mason said.

The mid-year auction, held in addition to the Nov. 21 sale, doesn't impose any price restrictions. The established artists were asked to submit a piece of work and determine a retail price based on past sale prices of similar works, Mason said. A committee then selected which works would be included in the auction. Suggested values range from $800 to $15,000. Online bid minimums are half of the retail price. As of noon Friday, about half of the works had bids.


The auction is divided into an online auction conducted by Paddle8 and a live auction at 8:30 Friday night (June 7). The live auction, which includes a signature piece by super seller Samantha French (pictured), costs $125 to get into the catered event.


If everything sells at its suggested retail price, the fundraiser will bring in about $250,000.

The doors open for the silent auction at 7:30 p.m. Friday and the live auction begins at 8:30 at the MCAD Gallery at 2501 Stevens Ave. in Minneapolis.


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