Keeping an idea fresh for nearly two decades is no easy task, and yet every year for the last 17, the Triton Museum of Art has managed to put on its annual gala with a new theme and dozens of artworks up for auction.
This year the museum and board of directors played on the popularity of the Mad Men TV show with MadArt, a silent and live auction event where 60s-era Madison Avenue attire was encouraged.
“[Board member] Elke [Groves] came up with the idea,” said Triton Executive Director Jill Meyers. “We were talking about a lot of different ideas but this one, I think, the board really liked. So when it was thrown out there, everyone agreed. It’s just a fun theme.”
As guests perused the art up for auction in the Warburton Gallery, a DJ in the Permanent Collection Gallery encouraged attendees to dance. Other gala-goers bid on non-art auction items, which included a tour of the Red Vines factory in Union City and rental of the Jamison-Brown House on the museum grounds. Still, some who were there just to take in the atmosphere and support the arts, chose to spend their evening sipping on theme-appropriate martinis and dining on the bite plates put together by Catered Too! – shrimp louie salad with parmesan garlic bread, turkey meatloaf or black bean tempeh sliders with macaroni and cheese, beef pot roast or wild mushroom ragout with mashed potatoes and an ice cream sundae bar.
“It’s taking a twist of the 60s food and making it contemporary,” said Meyers of the food, which also included passed hors d’oeuvres of deviled eggs, a crab spread on bread and pigs in a blanket.
The event itself, however, was about the art, as each of the artworks up for bidding had a listed value and an opening bid, which was a fraction of the piece’s worth. “It’s a good place to get a great deal on some great art,” said Meyers
Once the bidding was done, the museum auctioned off five items through a live auction hosted by Santa Clara County District One Supervisor Mike Wasserman. Of the items for bid were a Triton Museum facility rental (sold for $500), pastel piece by two-time Statewide Painting Competition and Exhibition winner Cuong Nguyen (sold for a $400), exhibiting artist Katherine Meyer charcoal drawing (sold for $2,000), drawing by LeRoy Nieman of volleyball player Kerri Walsh that was signed by the three-time Olympian (sold for $1,000), and three-night weekend stay at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands hotel (sold for $600).
MadArt raised approximately $45,000 for the Triton’s exhibition and education programs. “I don’t know what next year will bring, but we do plan to continue this fundraiser,” said Meyers of the event’s future.