The 2012 Gala: One for the Record Books!

By Hannah Whalen, Director of Development

The Abbe Museum is pleased to report the most successful Gathering Gala it has had since it began hosting this annual event at the Bar Harbor Club.  Through ticket sales, sponsorships, outright gifts, auction purchases, and a special paddle raise, the Abbe received over $110,000 of generous support.  64 auction artists and experience donors, 20 sponsors and 250 guests (including the Abbe Underground young friends group) made the evening possible. 
“The Gala was a resounding success with many records set,” declared Abbe CEO, Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko the day after the Gala.  She went on to say, “the staff and I are over the moon today and are so grateful for all of this incredible support.”

The evening of July 18 started at 5:00pm with cocktails, beer donated by Atlantic Brewing Company, passed hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction.

“The silent auction had about fifty things,” said Ellen Gilmore, Abbe Volunteer, “and there was a wide variety including a number of experiences that guests could bid on.”

One notable item was an ash and sweetgrass collar basket, woven by master basketmaker, Molly Neptune Parker, Passamaquoddy, one of nine artists in the country to receive the 2012 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship. The auction experiences included a VIP tour of the National Museum of the American Indian and lunch at the renowned Mitsitam Café.

After the close of the silent auction, guests made their way into the ballroom for dinner.  Tables were elegantly decorated with green overlays and unique birch bark and floral centerpieces created and donated by Lindy Stretch of Fox Fields Flowers.  Bottles of Estate Riverstone, Chardonnay and Estate Los Osos, Merlot donated by J.Lohr Vineyards and Wines were open on the tables.

During dinner, auctioneer, (and former Abbe board member) Senator Dennis Damon, led guests through the live auction.  Part-way through, Abbe Team members, Nora Miller and Astra Haldeman, joined Senator Damon to introduce the “Greening the Abbe” Initiative and paddle raise.

 “The Abbe Museum is the sum of many parts and what makes the Museum relevant are those individuals, like all of you who attend or lead our programs, engage with our exhibits, come to the Gala, and support our mission,” said Ms. Haldeman, she went on to say, “You are the reason the Abbe Museum exists, and you have the ability to facilitate our transformation into a more sustainable organization and that is why we are relying on you tonight.”

The Greening paddle raise inspired more than $30K in gifts, which will allow the Abbe to start the greening process immediately.  The first phase of the Greening Initiative will address lighting, humidification, UV reduction and mechanical systems software.

This model birch bark canoe by Butch Phillips
was a popular live auction item at the 2012 Gala.
As dessert arrived, so did the final items up for bid, a hand-painted paddle by Eric Hopkins, a decorative wooden paddle by Joe Tracy and lastly, a two-foot model birchbark canoe made by Butch Phillips, Penobscot. All three items spurred lively bidding, especially Phillip’s canoe, as it is the first and only 2 foot canoe that he has built or will ever build.

When asked how he felt about what it meant to see his canoe generate such enthusiastic support, Mr. Phillips said,  “I am overwhelmed and satisfied that I had a small part in contributing to the success of the Gala for the Abbe.” 

He added, “It was more than I expected and it really shows what can happen when you have such dedicated friends of the Abbe who have an appreciation for art.” 

After the auction things got even livelier with live music, dancing and the arrival of the Abbe Underground.

“It was a great night for the Abbe, the energy in the room was palpable,” said Board President, Sandy Wilcox.  “We are so grateful to our old friends and new friends for attending the Gala and making it such a wonderful success. I am also grateful for the hard work of all of the artists who donated their time and talent, to the experience donors, to our generous sponsors and to all of our Gala volunteers, especially our 2012 Gala Committee.”