Pilar Contardo is one of the artists featured during the March 7 the St. Ann Latino Contemporary Art Auction at Artis-Naples, The Baker Museum.

Contemporary art auction for a cause

NAPLES | An art auction in its second year will offer up works by impressive Latino artists to fund scholarships for Latino students to attend a local Catholic school.

The St. Ann Latino Contemporary Art Auction takes it roots in 2012, when Father Michael Vannicola, Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, St. Ann Parish Pastor, was sent by the Diocese to an Alliance for Catholic Education meeting for pastors with schools at the University of Notre Dame. There he participated in a dialogue regarding the importance of reaching out to Latino students, who make up more than half of young Catholics in the U.S., but aren’t often well represented in Catholic schools. Realizing a need to reach these families in Naples, Father Vannicola decided to ask a St. Ann parishioner to help start a fund to provide scholarships for Latino students to attend St. Ann Catholic School.

That parishioner anonymously donated $250,000. Thus far, 17 students have benefitted from the fund’s scholarships. However, in order for the fund to continue and for families to receive needed assistance, additional funds had to be raised. So, with the help of the Cultural and Performing Arts Center in Naples, the St. Ann Latino Contemporary Art Auction was born.

Now in its second year, the auction will take place March 7, 6 p.m., at Artis-Naples, the Baker Museum. The art auction will feature prominent local and international Latino artists exhibiting their work to an audience who will have the opportunity to bid on the artwork during a silent auction. The evening also includes Latino hors d’oeuvres and live entertainment.

One of the artists is Arturo Correa, who has been called “one of the finest painters that I have known in 42 years of teaching,” by Marilyn Gelfman Karp, a New York University professor. Correa participated in 2017 and signed on again for this year. Originally from Venezuela, he is now based in Naples. His paintings combine figure, writing, contemporary and old iconic imagery gathered from past and present.

Additional artists include César Aguilera, Mely Barragán, Mariana Cano, Pablo Castañeda, Pilar Contardo, Juan Díaz, Antonio Guerrero, Cecilia Lueza, MANO, Katia Miranda, Lucía Rohrmann, Daniel Ruanova, Arturo Samaniego, and a special donation from world-renowned artist, Romero Britto.
While art collectors certainly benefit from this event, the children are the winners as well. The parent of a scholarship recipient, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “This is our daughter’s third year at St. Ann School and she loves it. The family values, spiritual teachings and academic knowledge are excellent. We would have never been able to give our daughter this opportunity ourselves. This scholarship has been a great blessing to our family.”

Tickets are $250 per person and can be purchased by visiting www.SALCAA.org.