Monroe Congregational Church member Laurie Ide holds up some of the donated artwork from the “Art From Under the Bed” silent auction on Saturday, May 20.
Monroe Congregational Church member Laurie Ide holds up some of the donated artwork from the “Art From Under the Bed” silent auction on Saturday, May 20.

Saturday’s “Art From Under the Bed” silent auction included many notable pieces among the large collection of donated artwork on display at the Monroe Congregational Church. 

Local artists offered up personal paintings and handmade crafts, and residents gave a chunk of their own hoard from home. Half of the proceeds will go to the church, and the rest will go to Take the Next Step, a nonprofit that provides services to the area’s homeless population.

Church member Laurie Ide said the volume of contributions was unexpected. All were handed in within the past six weeks, she said.

“We thought we would get a couple dozen prints,” she said, eyeing the tables filled with canvas and framed photos.

A group of volunteers started planning “Art From Under the Bed” around the holidays, Ide said. They had about six meetings held to prepare for the event, and somewhere along the way it was mentioned that many of the participating members had at least a small cache of unhung artwork; hence, the name of the auction, she said.

“From under the bed, or behind the bed, or in the case of ours: from behind the refrigerator,” Ide said.

Pastor Jane Sorenson said the donations included many pieces that would be priced much higher in an art gallery or craft fair. The event was a way to try to repurpose the unused pieces, she said.

“No artist in the world imagines making something that would wind up under someone’s bed,” she said with a laugh.

Ide pointed to two Greg Copeland mirrors, which can go for anywhere between $400-$1,800. Someone was likely going to walk away with one for $150 that evening. She also picked up a large Native American mask that could be priced as high as $2,400, and would also likely sell for a few hundred dollars.

“A lot of it’s priced so that it will go home with someone tonight, hopefully,” Ide said.

Diane Wilson attended on behalf of her husband, Douglas Wilson, who donated a large stash of prints from his archives. The photos were priced at $1.50 each. The local photographer is now retired, but has worked for the New York Times, Time magazine and took many stock photos for Getty Images, she said.

“We thought it (the auction) was an excellent thing for the church,” Wilson said.

Liz Belcher was one of the bidders Saturday. She said she was visiting the area from Canada, and was surprised to find a photograph from Tofino on Vancouver Island where she lives. She said she was impressed with the unique way the church was conducting the fundraiser.

“It would be a shame to see some of these things go for too little because some of them are nice pieces,” she said.

Church member Ken MacDicken said he came to hunt down more art for his family’s personal collection. He said he buys a few pieces every year.

“It’s interesting — it’s pretty diverse as a collection,” he said. “It’s hard to find a place for new art, so you have to be pretty selective.”

The public will have one more chance to buy from the collection. All pieces that were not sold or auctioned off this past weekend will be on sale 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 27, at the church.