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Artist Trust Raised Over $550,000 at 2016 Benefit Art Auction: A Record-Breaking Amount!

For Immediate Release:


Kristina Goetz (she/her)

Development Director

206.467.8734 x21

1.866.21.TRUST (toll free)

On Saturday evening, February 27th, Artist Trust hosted its annual gala art auction, showcasing the donated work of more than 125 Washington State artists. This year’s record-breaking event raised over $572,000, which is more than a 13% increase over the previous year, and the most in the organization’s history.

Over 450 art patrons, community leaders, entrepreneurs and young professionals, as well as artists and arts supporters from across the state joined the festivities in celebration of individual artists and the work of Artist Trust. Over $333,000 was raised during FUND THE ARTISTS, an opportunity during the live auction for guests to make a 100% tax-deductible donation to Artist Trust, thanks to a generous group of people who came together to each donate $30,000 in honor of Artist Trust turning 30 years old: John and Shari Behnke, Michael and Cathy Casteel, Katharyn Alvord Gerlich, the Jon and Mary Shirley Foundation, Chris and Alida Latham, and Virginia, Merrill, and Charlie Wright.  Donations to Fund the Artists were also matched dollar for dollar to $50,000 by the Klorfine Foundation. Net proceeds from the Auction will fund Artist Trust’s support of individual artist through grants, career training and resources.
This year’s auction showcased work by extraordinary artists, including Lead Pencil Studio and Anna Skibska, and Northwest legends Alfredo Arreguin and Akio Takamori.  Takamori’s Adam and Eve piece inspired a bidding war with the item selling for $8,500 to the very lucky Mattie Iverson Vadon.

A drawing on paper by Lynda Barry and a cyanotype on cotton by Margot Quan Knight kicked off the live auction, each inspiring generous bids from Tanya Trejo and Keane Watterson, and Bruce and Christen Jaffe, respectively. Other high-bid items included an evening of private shopping and styling at Seattle luxury retailer Totokaelo, and a winemaker’s dinner at Dunham Cellars in Walla Walla.

The evening featured silent and live auctions, champagne, cocktails by Linda Derschang’s Tallullah’s, a seated dinner, music by Stranger Genius Award winners Industrial Revelation (Featuring Creative Capital Award winner Ahamefule J. Oluo, whose Now I’m Fine recently debuted at NYC’s Public Theatre), and a spoken word performance by Aleut/Black/Choctow writer and interdisciplinary artist Storme Webber.  Keynote speaker Alison Bremner, a visual artist of Tlingit descent, spoke about the importance of having Artist Trust support her work. Webber and Bremner are both 2015 James W. Ray Venture Project Award recipients, having received amounts of $15,000 each. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s welcome address to guests talked about the value of the arts when dealing with pain and struggle in a community.  Former Seattle Mayor Norman Rice and current Snohomish Mayor Karen Guzak were also in attendance. 

“It was a fantastic evening! We were so excited to see the increased level of support Artist Trust received,” said Shannon Halberstadt, Artist Trust’s Executive Director. “And it was the perfect way to kick off our 30th anniversary.”

Artist Trust Benefit Art Auction was generously sponsored by Patron Sponsors Vulcan, Goldman Sachs, and Boeing, and numerous other small businesses, galleries, and individuals.


About Artist Trust

Artist Trust has invested over $10 million in Washington State artists since its founding in 1986, through grant programs and direct support. Artist Trust also provides a comprehensive suite of career training and professional development resources to help artists achieve their career goals.

Artist Trust is a not-for-profit organization whose sole mission is to support and encourage individual artists working in all disciplines in order to enrich community life throughout Washington State. Find out more at

About Artist Trust
Artist Trust is a nonprofit organization whose sole mission is to support and encourage individual artists working in all disciplines in order to enrich community life throughout Washington State. Since its founding in 1986, Artist Trust has invested over $10 million in individual artists through grant programs, and provides a comprehensive suite of professional development training and resources to help artists achieve their career goals. Learn more at