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Art auction held to benefit mental health agency

March 16, 2004|by Alicia Notarianni

alician@herald-mail.com

Potomac Case Management Services Inc. held its first fund-raiser Saturday, March 13, at St. Joseph Catholic Church Community Center in Hagerstown.

Doors opened at 6 p.m. for a one-hour preview of auction items, which covered the tables lining the periphery of the room. Members of the Potomac Case Management Services staff and board of directors supplied refreshments, and the Tri-State Big Band provided a musical flair.

Ross Galleries of Holbrook, N.Y., provided artwork and conducted the auction. Most items auctioned were lithographs - flat-surface reproductions of previously executed artwork - or serigraphs - three dimensional reproductions with the look and feel of original oil paintings - with several original pieces offered as well.

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Auction tickets were sold at $15 each, $25 for two, $50 for five and $90 for 10. In addition to the main auction, attendees could vie for silent auction items, door prizes and raffle winnings. More than 100 people attended the event, which brought in about $5,600 to fund programs offered by Potomac Case Management Services in Hagerstown.

Faith Smith, executive director of the agency, said its staff serves people with mental illness by assisting with linkages to doctors, therapists, housing, employment, social security benefits and other community resources that maximize potential for independence.

"When people get the right meds, housing, doctors and so on, you start seeing kids coming back from (the Department of Social Services), you see a reduced homeless population, you see less children being removed from their homes," Smith said. "It improves quality of life for people and it helps the community."

Smith said she had had previous experience with Ross Galleries and thought their quality work would be a good match for Potomac Case Management's fund-raiser.

Marcia Jabick, auctioneer for Ross Galleries, said the company conducts more than 1,000 auctions each year. Jabick said pieces are offered at 20 to 60 percent below gallery price due to volume discounts. She promised a lifetime exchange policy on all purchased artwork.

"It's a win-win situation," Jabick said. "You get to provide support through your donation, and you get phenomenal Madison Avenue art at discount prices," she said.

Tony Valentine, an employee of Wright-Gardner Insurance Inc., a corporate sponsor of the event, purchased a pencil-signed offset lithograph of "Sailing" by LeRoy Neiman, an artist popular for his paintings of sports and leisure activities.

"I spend a lot of time at Nantucket, so I'm familiar with Neiman's work," Valentine said. "Plus it's for a good cause."

Karen Dawson went to the auction on a mission to get a Joe DiMaggio photo and autographed baseball for the nursery of godson Mark Dawson's son-to-be. She went home a winner. Mark's wife, Julia Kilmer, is pregnant with the lucky baby.

Mark Dawson explained that his grandfather was a baseball player.

"He had an offer to play with the Pirates, but he chose to marry my grandmother instead," he said.

For more information about Potomac Case Management Services Inc., call 301-791-3087.

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