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By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian
BY CAMILLE GAVIN Contributing writer
At the moment, wooden wine crates along with a free-standing stained glass window that once adorned a Victorian-era house in Sausalito line the walls of development director Amy Millis' office at the Bakersfield Museum of Art.
But one week from today, all those items, plus a few dozen gift baskets and a collection of wine-themed paintings by local artists, will be taken outside and placed on tables in the museum's garden for the annual Winescapes party.
When: 6 p.m. May 2
Where: Bakersfield Museum of Art, 1930 R St.
Admission: $40 in advance; $50 at the door; $75 per couple; $500 reserved table for eight.
"This event has really grown over the years," Millis said. "Last year we doubled what we made (in 2011) and I'd like to take it over $50,000 this year."
It also has evolved. The museum's annual springtime fundraiser began as "Men Cooking" more than 10 years ago. Later it became "Winescapes," centered on the auction of numerous magnum-sized wine bottles painted and decorated by local artists.
Winescapes is still the name of the party but for the third year it will feature wine-themed paintings. This time around, 13 local artists have donated pieces.
"I think it is so generous of the artists to donate their work," Millis said. "They don't receive anything for it, not a penny. "
Artwork isn't the only thing being offered, however. Among the more unusual items are a round-trip chartered flight for two to Las Vegas or anywhere in California, and a portrait of your pet painted by BMOA curator Vikki Cruz.
Maddie Janssen of KGET Channel 17 will be master of ceremonies for the party, which begins at 6 p.m. and gives guests an opportunity to mingle and sip wine from four California vintners or distributors as they place their bids for the silent auction.
During that time, hot and cold hors d'oeuvres prepared by Katie Crettol Catering will be served, and Jeff Woods will play recorded music.
At 7:30 p.m. the live auction, the highlight of the evening, gets underway.
"Ed Rogers is the auctioneer," Millis said. "Joe Hay -- he's the incoming chairman of the foundation board -- says he (Rogers) is a legend in the auto community."
Mary Wegis, a volunteer who heads the special events committee, said more than 300 attended the event in 2012 and she expects even more this year.
"It's a neat mix of art, wine and music in a beautiful atmosphere with strings of little cafe lights all around," Wegis said. "Each table will have a goodie basket filled with local products -- wine, nuts and Dewar's chews.
Napier Hill and Katie Werdel are on Wegis' committee as well; other valued volunteers are several members of Teen Challenge, who come earlier in the day to set things up and return the next morning to dismantle.
Mercedes-Benz of Bakersfield is the major sponsor of Winescapes. Two of the auto dealer's convertibles will be on display, one at the front entrance, the other near the gate leading to the garden.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the museum's expanding educational program. For many years BMOA has offered instruction for elementary ages but starting in June, there will be ongoing classes for high school-age and adults as well.