Bethany College to Auction Selected Artwork to Support General Scholarship Fund

Bethany College will deaccession selected pieces of artwork to support the general scholarship fund of the college. Eleven works by Birger Sandzén and selected pieces of Native American pottery will be auctioned on August 13 to 14 by Manitou Galleries in Santa Fe, N.M. Student scholarships total over $6 million every year.

Bethany will not auction all of its artwork; it will retain representative pieces of Native American pottery and extensive works of Sandzén. “We were willed artwork by a generous donor in 2009, whose intent was for Bethany to sell it,” says President Edward F. Leonard III. “This prompted us to review our entire inventory and research what other pieces were given with the intent that they would be sold by the college.”

Deaccessioning is a commonly used practice to manage accumulated artwork. Bethany’s current deaccessioning policy was effective as of 2000. Bob Schmoll, vice president for finance and operations, says, “Bethany does not have the space to display all pieces. We used our deaccessioning policy to help manage our artwork.”

The deaccessioning process has taken over a year. Schmoll described that after the donor’s gift in 2009, the Bethany College Board of Directors moved to deaccession pieces of artwork in May 2010. Bethany assessed its inventory and removed any pieces from consideration that had donor restrictions on them. Only pieces purchased by Bethany or given with the express intent to sell were considered for deaccessioning.

Pieces to be sold were selected by the Bethany College Art Committee. The committee includes Bethany College faculty and staff as well as a representative from the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery, which is located on the corner of Bethany’s campus although not owned or operated by Bethany.

Then Bethany evaluated its sales options. Schmoll says, “We chose to auction the art in order to receive the greatest return, provide the greatest transparency, and provide the public an opportunity to bid. Manitou Galleries was selected due to their extensive experience with both Sandzén and Native American works and based on the recommendations by the Sandzén Gallery and other local constituents.” The Bethany College Board of Directors reaffirmed its motion to deaccession artwork in November 2010.

“We are excited about the scholarship opportunities this auction will provide,” says Leonard. “Many of these pieces have not been on public display for years, and some have never been on the market before so this is exciting for collectors as well.”

The auction will take place on August 13 at 6 p.m. MST and August 14 at 2 p.m. MST. Interested parties can bid via absentee ballot, online at www.iCollector.com, or in person at the Historic Hilton Hotel located at 100 Sandoval Street, Santa Fe, N.M. Visit www.auctioninsantafe.com for more information.

Manitou Galleries, with locations in Santa Fe, N.M., and Cheyenne, Wyo., is proud to offer over 70 years of collective staff experience in historic and Western art, fine sculpture, and Cowboy and Native American collectibles. Founded in 1975, Manitou Galleries offers collections of contemporary representational paintings, sculpture, prints, glass, and fine jewelry. Visit the gallery on the web at www.manitougalleries.com.

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