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by Michele D.  Maniscalco
Thursday May 11, 2017

Left to Right) Ellen Rich, Susan Collings. Photo by Michele Maniscalco
Left to Right) Ellen Rich, Susan Collings. Photo by Michele Maniscalco  

Art Connection benefit a winner across the board

Approximately 180 people gathered at the festively-decorated auditorium of the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology on Saturday, April 29 to sip wine, enjoy bountiful appetizers, and play games of chance to win unique works of art for a good cause, at the Art Connection's 6th annual Art Bingo fundraiser.

Guests paid $40-50 per ticket, plus $10 per Bingo card, to vie for original works by local artists, which were donated and curated to be given as prizes. A last-chance raffle offered another opportunity to win and a silent auction boasted a variety of enticing gifts, services and opportunities such as getaways to regional favorites such as Cape Cod and the White Mountains; gift baskets with coffee, sweets and gourmet items; gift certificates to The Beehive and other eateries; passes to area museums and theater venues, and fitness gifts and classes.

The benefit, which was spearheaded by board member Mary Coogan in 2012, has grown in scope and success under the direction of outgoing Art Connection executive director Susan Collings, and this year raised approximately $30,000, more than 10 per cent of the budget for the non-profit group, which brings fine art to schools, community centers and other locations to share art appreciation with the community in an affordable and accessible manner.

Local non-profits such as Victory Programs and Project Hope bought tables at the event, as did City Council District 2 hopeful Michael Kelley. Collings, resplendent in one of her signature hats in bright pink with a band that said "Bingo", received kudos for her work from the group's board in advance of her June 30 retirement.

The evening was a lively one with a host of guest bingo callers, including former United South End Settlements president Kevin Hepner, the Art Connection's effervescent program manager, Chanel Thervil, candidate Kelley, and a cute little boy from the audience named Noah.

Donated refreshments, including tortellini, chicken, hummus and other dips, crudités and fruits, sliced meats and cheeses, and desserts were prepared in an elegant buffet by Art Connection board member Michael Bacon, former director of nutritional services at The Living Center, and his partner, Tim Burgers. Bacon, owner of Jangles Jewelry, also crafted a necklace and matching earrings that were presented to Collings by the Art Connection board as a retirement gift.

For their efforts, Bacon and Burgers received a Fabulous Food Display Award and an engraved crystal star. Artist Ellen Rich, who has been active with the Art Connection from the start and who has donated her own works for placement in the community and for Art Bingo, was recognized at the event with the annual Artist Award.

Accepting her award, Rich saluted the late Art Connection founder, Fay Chandler. Rich said, "This is a wonderful organization. It's such a joy, a pleasure and an honor to work with this organization at every level: for the artists who donate their work that gets treated with such respect, to the non-profits that receive the work and select the work that fits their program and the clients who tell the artists how much they appreciate and love the work." She also acknowledged Collings, Thervil and program and volunteer coordinator Sarah Shallbetter, saying, "You've never met such thoughtful, smart people!"

Victory Programs table. Photo by Michele Maniscalco.  

Chanel Thervil calls bingo. Photo by Michele Maniscalco.  

  (Source:Photo by Michele Maniscalco.)


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