Lend a Hand charity art auction moves forward with modifications amid pandemic

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FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — For nearly a decade, local artists and a downtown Frederick business have collaborated for an annual art auction. Organizers announced the event will go on, but with some changes. And artists say their work carries even more meaning this year. 

Lori Rounds recently retired from a 30-year career in information technology. What consumes most of her days now is her artwork.

“When I’m not doing art, I’m thinking about it,” Rounds explained,”I get ideas, it’s like subconsciously. And then I just dive in, put on music and then the next thing you know several hours have gone by.”

Rounds has been a contributing artist to the Lend a Hand art auction since its beginning nine years ago. 

The event was founded by artists Courtney Prahl and Whitney Dalhberg, former owner of The Muse. The retail store is devoted to stocking artwork, about 75 percent of items are created by local artists. 
The auction was propelled by the idea of highlighting even more artists and auctioning their work to support local non-profits.

“It’s for everyone so it doesn’t have to be a professional artist, it can be a student, a kid, anybody,” explained current owner of The Muse, Sumner Crenshaw. 

Crenshaw says there was uncertainty if the auction would continue this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. While the call has been put out  for artists to participate, plans are still being worked out for the silent auction beginning in September.

“We are talking about how we can potentially utilize outdoor spaces so that we can social distance inside the store. We’re also looking into online platforms to see if we can enable online bidding too,” said Sumner. 

Rounds says the creative process too has changed during the pandemic.

“Art has definitely been really a survival tactic for me in this pandemic,” Rounds explained, “You know, we’re all facing stress and anxiety and doing art is very joyful and therapeutic for me and I want to bring that joy to the viewer as well.”

This year’s auction will benefit non-profit Stream-Link Education. According to a press release, the organization is focused on conservation education through volunteer tree planting.

“This event is a shining example of people coming together with a common vision. People of many ages, cultures and backgrounds come out to plant trees with us; we know firsthand that if we work together, we can make a lasting impact on the environment, both locally and globally,” said John Smucker with Stream-Link Education. 

This year’s auction theme is “Together We Merge Into One World.” Participants are asked to create a work of art exploring this theme and the idea that coming together for environmental stewardship benefits us all for generations to come, according to the press release. 

Organizers continue to seek artists for the auction. Participants have until August 31st to complete their pieces and drop it off at The Muse. 

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