Kluge Art Collection Auction

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Artwork that was named one of the top ten most endangered artifacts in Virginia sits in the basement of a Charlottesville art gallery waiting for conservation. It's one of many pieces the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection is trying to raise money for during an event Wednesday night.

The event is called FLASH: A party and art auction to benefit conservation. It's the first time the collection has hosted such an event, and they hope it will inform the public about conserving and preserving artwork, and help them to raise money to restore some of their own one-of-a kind art pieces.

There will be affordable and more expensive works of art up for bidding during the silent auction. There will also be food, refreshments, and door prizes at the event.

You can also bid on things like your own conservation treatments, and a portrait session where the portrait is printed on archival paper.

All of the money raised will go towards conservation needs, like the estimated $5,000 needed for work on a piece that was on the endangered artifacts list.

"Our collection is considered to be the best collection of Australia Aboriginal art outside of Australia, and there are many historic pieces in the collection, pieces by some of the masters of bark painting and works that are among the cultural heritage of Aboriginal people. So it's important to save those things," said Margo Smith, the director and curator of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection.

"There's a lot of organic materials in the collection, like bark paintings with natural oakers and over time pigments can flake off of them and they can degrade. That's just part of the aging process, so some things require conservation treatments by an experienced conservator and we're looking to fund those needs," Smith said.

You don't have to go to the event to bid on the items. All of the bidding will take place online, on a website called 501-auctions started by Darden School students.  On the website you can place a regular bid, place a maximum bid and have the computer automatically increase the bid for you, or you can simply donate by going to "fund a conservation project."

The event kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night at the at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection on Worrell Drive, near Martha Jefferson Hospital.

Tickets are $35 dollars and can be purchased in advanced or at the door.

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