December 7, 2003
Patrons browse work in the Lawrence Arts Center's 2002 silent
auction. Critics say charitable art auctions hurt artists because
work often sells for less than retail value, creating a perception
that the work is not worth what it's priced at in local galleries.
Stories this photo appears in:
Sold! When the gavel drops, critics say art auctions often sell out the very artists who support them
Nancy Ness opened the Carmesi Gallery in 1999. She carried artwork by area artists and funneled all her resources into the downtown Lawrence business. Despite her best efforts, the gallery folded two years later. Sept. 11 knocked part of the wind out of the venture. But Ness says art auctions -- yes, art auctions -- were the biggest barrier to sending customers home with original artwork.