Time for an auction: Lions Club, artists team up for fund-raiser

VERGENNES — Tick, tock: “It’s about time” that arts lovers and community-minded local residents chipped in for a good cause.
That’s the thinking (and the theme) behind a silent auction the Vergennes Lions Club is organizing to raise money for its community service efforts. This week’s auction will peddle the wares of 23 local artists, each tasked with creating at least one clock to donate for the charity auction.
Table clocks, wall clocks, round clocks, square clocks — according to event organizer Betsey Benton, they’re all a reminder that any time is a good time to give back.
Benton, a member of the club board of directors, noted that 100 percent of the money raised goes back into the community. The Lions provide glasses for those who need but can’t afford them, and organize hearing and vision tests in the area. The group also supports the local food shelf, provides educational scholarships and builds ramps for handicapped residents who need better access to their homes.
This is the second year the Vergennes Lions Club has organized an art auction to drum up funds. Last year, the club decided to give mirrors in pine frames to local artists, and let them have at it. The silent auction brought in more than $6,000, with the most expensive mirror going for more than $500.
This year’s clocks will be on display in store windows along Main Street before the silent auction.
On Thursday, July 8, the Lions will host an artists’ reception from 6 to 8 p.m. at Creative Space Gallery, 229 Main St., where all of the clocks will be on display. Bidding will begin that evening, and, in conjunction with the French Heritage Day, continue on Saturday, July 10, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the gallery.
Bidders can also visit www.vlionsclocks.com online to see all of the clocks up for auction. Each clock will go to the highest bidder.
Benton was initially inspired to organize the fund-raiser by the arts events in towns where artists are invited to decorate a public sculpture, like the pigs on display in Brandon or the painted cows marching up and down Burlington’s Church Street.
She wanted to give artists the same free range to turn a uniform object into an expression of their style, but she also wanted those objects to be something useful.
“My thinking is that it should be something that is utilitarian. Everybody needs a mirror, and everybody could use a clock,” Benton said.
Last year’s mirrors were all either square or rectangular, but this year’s artists will have more freedom in creating their clocks. The Lions provide the hands and clockworks, and the artists can then make the clock’s face out of masonite in any shape they like. Benton is encouraging the use of found objects and antiques as well.
“The artists have been so generous with their time,” Benton said. “They’ve been so supportive of the Lions Club and this project. We want to help the arts, and I think this is sort of a nice mix of the artists and the Lions Club doing some good for a lot of needy people.”
Reporter Kathryn Flagg is at [email protected].

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