Over the past several years, the Redwood Area Dollars For Scholars Orrin S. Estebo Chapter has been able to provide scholarships to hundreds of Redwood Valley High School graduates. One year ago 54 scholarships were presented to the RVHS Class of 2017 totaling $43,000.

As a donation based organization, the chapter seeks different ways to raise funds toward achieving its goal of providing a scholarship to every graduate who plans to pursue post-secondary education. One of the ways it has done that in recent years is through its annual art auction.

Through the art auction, donations from artists are sold to the highest bidder, and the proceeds from that auction are used to provide additional scholarships to students. 

One year ago the art auction resulted in more than $2,300 for scholarships.

In past years the fundraiser was set up as a silent auction, with items on display at the Redwood Falls Public Library. There people could look through the items and then place bids on site.

According to Tami Riley, executive director of the Redwood Area Education Foundation, those involved with the event began hearing comments from others outside of the community who were interested in bidding on the pieces of art up for sale but had no way to access them.

So, this year the art auction is being conducted a bit differently.

“We are hosting an online art auction,” said Riley.

Through Kerkhoff Auction in Redwood Falls people with access to the Internet can see the pieces up for bid, and then on the Kerkhoff Auction Web site can place bids for the item they would like.

“This is our first time doing the art auction this way, and so we are learning as we go,” said Riley, adding she really appreciates the assistance those at Kerkhoff Auction have provided and their willingness to host the auction.

The Dollars for Scholars art auction has opened and will remain open through April 20.

In its first years, the art auction remained open through the Evening of the Stars event in May, but Riley said those involved with the fundraiser felt the approach of hosting the event online opened up the potential for additional bidders on a much broader scale.

There are currently 37 items up for bid online ranging from scarves and jewelry to paintings and photography. There are also pieces of furniture and myriad other works of art available through the auction.

An art auction celebration event is being held April 20 at the Redwood Falls golf club where people will be able to continue bidding until the auction closes that night at 8 p.m. That event is set to begin at 5 p.m. Refreshments will be available for those who attend.

Riley added while the art auction is set to close at 8 p.m. if bidding continues past the 8 p.m. deadline on any item that will keep going in one-minute intervals until the final bid is received.

All of the pieces up for bid at the art auction are also available at the local library for people to look at, and Riley said the library is also set up to help people who want to bid online.

In addition to offering the artwork online, the auction will also include three additional pieces which will be raffled off April 20 at the celebration.

There are a number of new artists who have donated items this year, said Riley, who added this fundraiser is not only a great opportunity to help provide added scholarships, it is also a great way for artists to have their work featured and for people to learn more about who they are and what they do.

“The artists who are involved have been so supportive over the years,” said Riley.

Following the auction the highest bidders will be able to pick up their pieces in the Redwood Area School District office, and Riley said there is also an option to have items shipped.

Each piece of art has a minimum bid established, and Riley said those who want to bid need to have a credit card to register as a bidder. No, she added, that does not mean they have to pay for the item if they win one that way.

To learn more about the art auction, contact Riley at the school by calling (507) 644-3531. The online auction is available at kerkhoffauction.com and is listed under Dollars for Scholars Art Auction. Additional information can also be found there.

Riley expressed her excitement about the potential for this new option for the auction. For those involved what is most important is that it is all going to help the next generation of students as they prepare for their future.