Art lovers descend on Sonoma State University’s gallery for annual Art from the Heart benefit auction

The 39th annual Art from the Heart featured local art, live music, free portrait drawings and more.|

Around 200 people packed into the University Art Gallery at Sonoma State University Feb. 4 for the Rohnert Park gallery’s 39th annual Art from the Heart benefit auction.

Approximately $21,000 was raised at the event from donations and auctioned artworks. Admission was a $40 suggested donation, though no one was turned away due to lack of funds. The nonprofit gallery will use the funds for general operations, including its exhibitions and educational programs.

“People were thrilled, it was a very joyous occasion,” said Carla Stone, the gallery’s exhibitions coordinator.

More than 100 of the 119 pieces of donated art, including for the first time some student works, were sold at the three-hour party. Proceeds from the student pieces will go to the university’s art department, Stone said.

The list of donating artists included locals, SSU alumni, and artists who’ve previously shown work at the gallery, which first opened in 1978.

The highest bid went for a painting by Hawaii-based artist Masami Teraoka who exhibited at the gallery about 15 years ago and donates art annually to the auction.

“That went for a bargain at $1,200,” Stone said.

Attendees also enjoyed wines donated by Iron Horse Vineyards and Don Sebastiani and Sons, live music by Noisy Children, featuring members of Big Brother & the Holding Company, and live portrait drawings by local artist and winemaker Alice Sutro that were projected on the wall from Sutro’s iPad in real time.

This was the first in-person Art from the Heart since February 2020. The event ran online the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everybody was excited to be back,” Stone said.

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