Sundae Horn
This quilted and embroidered piece by Satartia Collins (fabric artist and nurse at Ocracoke Health Center) took the top bid of the night at $250!
This quilted and embroidered piece by Satartia Collins (fabric artist and nurse at Ocracoke Health Center) took the top bid of the night at $250!

Over 80 people attended the opening Saturday night at the OPS Museum.

The rooms of the old David Williams House were filled with Ocracoke residents, homeowners, and visitors, who braved the blustery night to see (and bid on!) the artwork on display.

Ocracoke Preservation Society's administrator, Amy Howard, and her assistant, Ann Borland, organized this wonderful winter event with some help from their Special Events committee. Amy was hoping that the fundraiser would bring people to the Museum in the off-season, and make some money for some projects she has in the works for 2014.

Paintings, photographs, collages, and/or mixed media pieces were hanging in every room, and the crowd mingled and moved so they could see them all. Most of the guests also migrated back to the kitchen where bartender Scott Bradley was pouring generous glasses of wine. Crab dip, crackers, cookies, coffee, carrots and other crudités, and some delicious, if not alliterative, egg salad was on offer in the lovely spread provided by Merle Davis and Ruth Toth. The artists and art appreciators sipped, snacked, bid, and bid some more.

“Ocracoke Through Your Eyes” Show Was a Huge Success

Norma Sigal had three watercolor paintings in the show. She was happy that it gave so many people a chance to participate.

“There is so much undiscovered talent on Ocracoke,” she said.  “This event is the perfect venue to showcase that talent.” 

Former Ocracoke resident Jennifer Kidwell came all the way from Snow Camp, NC to attend the opening.

“I came just for Amy,” she said. “I called her yesterday and she joked, 'Oh yeah, I bet you’re gonna tell me you’re on the way here.' and actually, I was already in the ferry line!”

Jen had two paintings in the show, and she was happy to see work by younger artists.

“The high school kids have amazing stuff,” she said. “I’m so impressed.”

She also offered some advice for aspiring artists. "This is how we ate cheaply in art school – we went to openings," she said. Free cheese! Free wine! Take note, kids.  

R.J. Diaz was visiting Ocracoke with his friend, Donna MacDonald. Longtime fans of Ocracoke, this was their first cold-weather trip to the island.

Ocracoke in winter is “interesting” and “different,” he said, and he really didn’t expect the pipes to freeze, but they have enjoyed their visit. R.J. arrived with a list of canvases to bid on – he and Donna had been following the event on Facebook.

“It’s interesting to see Ocracoke from the perspectives of others – so many lighthouses, or local animals, all represented differently,” he said.

“I bid on a bunch of them,” Donna said. “I hope I get at least one.” (She did!)

This last minute entry by Lisa Landrum celebrates two Ocracoke favorites – the beach and wine.
This last minute entry by Lisa Landrum celebrates two Ocracoke favorites – the beach and wine.

“The art show is unique, and I’m glad I got to be here for it,” she said. “I’ve been coming to Ocracoke since I was eight, and I always knew it was a special place. I’ve recently met more locals and been impressed with how kind and friendly they are. To know they’re also clever and talented is a bonus.”

“This is fabulous,” said Gary Mitchell, whose wife and daughter had paintings in the show. He wants to do a painting for next year.

“Yes,” agreed Leslie Monticone. “It’s another amazing, windy night on Ocracoke.”

Their sentiments were echoed up and down the hallway, as friendly people squeezed past each other to make another round of chatting and bidding.

Candy Gaskill was happy to take home the fused glass piece by Flavia Burton – there were others she was outbid on, but she made sure to win Flavia's.

“This is really great,” she said. “So many talented people have donated their time, it’s a great fundraiser for OPS. I hope they do it every year.”

Local gallery owner Barbara Hardy-Ray donated a painting for the show, as did her husband, Bob Ray, and her grandson, Noah Hardy, age 3. (Their pieces went home with Beverly Meeker, Caroline Temple, and Tom Pahl, respectively.) Barbara and Bob are professional artists, and Noah seems to have inherited the talent.

“This is a nice event and I’m so glad to see people that wouldn’t normally do this,” she said. “It’s good to see new faces in the creative arena.”

Barbara’s family wasn’t the only one with multiple generations contributing to the show. Kelley Shinn and her daughter, Cecilia Carter, each painted a canvas, and Cecilia’s was the first to get a bid. One person won both of them, completely unaware as he bid that Kelley and Cecilia were related.

Caroline and Mariah Temple contributed pieces, as did their mom (me!). I'm not an artist, but like the other amateurs in the show, I was happy to give it a try. The small canvas, the "Ocracoke Through Your Eyes" theme, and especially the deadline, made for the perfect inspiration.

Carrie Lipps, an Ocracoke homeowner from Cincinnati, Ohio took home two of the most hotly contested pieces, the mailboat Aleta by Pat Schweniger and the ferry riding into the sunset by Betty Luigart Snowden.

“This is a great gathering,” Carrie said. She knew it would be fun because she also enjoyed the Ocrafolk Festival auction at the Berkley in June, and bought some art there, too.

Lori (center) and the Leslies tally the final bids.
Lori (center) and the Leslies tally the final bids.

Ocracoke homeowner Art Mines came early to help set up, and went home with a beautiful painting by Ocracoke's middle school teacher, Lynn King Bowen.

“It was a wonderful community event,” he said. “Everybody wins.”

Amy and Ann were thrilled with the turnout and success of the show. 

"I love that it was a blustery night and so many people came out," Amy said. "And it was a fun community event."

The fun was thanks to caterer extraordinaire Merle Davis, and Ruth Toth (for the crab dip.) Lori Masiatis, Leslie Cole, Leslie Monticone, and Merle Davis tallied the winning bids, while Bill and Lida Jones worked the cash register. Many others pitched in as needed for set-up and clean-up. Thanks! 

And for those who are interested in the bottom line… the silent auction brought in over $5000! With expenses for the event coming in at about $400, the net for OPS is even more than they'd hoped for.

"Thanks to all our artists and our bidders for making it such a huge success," Amy said. "We are humbled by the support we received."