Your Guide to the SELECT Art Auction Gala

Whether it’s your first time attending WPA’s big night, or you’re a regular attendee who’s enjoyed WPA auctions for decades, the SELECT Art Auction Gala on March 3 offers plenty of entertainment, surprises, and the best in contemporary art in the DC region. We’ve been talking a lot about SELECTlately, and here’s everything you need to know:

What is SELECT?

SELECT is WPA’s 31st annual art auction and exhibition. The exhibition opened on February 11 and is open free to the public Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon to 6pm at our exhibition space at 1800 L Street, NW. SELECT features over 100 works by contemporary artists, mostly from the DC region. The works were chosen by eight curators and the WPA Board of Directors and reflect a wide range of media, artistic practices, and ideas. All of the works in SELECTwill be auctioned off at WPA’s SELECT Art Auction Gala which will take place from 6:30pm to midnight on March 3, 2012. This year, we are excited to include a live auction component to the festivities!

Where does the money from SELECT go?

The proceeds from the sale of artwork is shared with the artists contributing that work. The rest of the proceeds from the sale of artwork, the live auction, and ticket sales go to Washington Project for the Arts and provide critical support for WPA’s programs and exhibitions throughout the year. Revenue generated from SELECT makes it possible for WPA to continue to offer professional development workshops, curator and artist talks, networking opportunities, valuable tools like ArtFile Online, and innovative and provocative exhibitions -- all of which serve the DC region’s contemporary arts community, and in particular, artists.

What do I get for my Gala ticket?

Gala tickets start at $300 and entitle you to admission to SELECT at 6:30pm to begin viewing the work that is being auctioned that evening. Gala guests will dine on a “Movable Feast” – hors d’oeuvres, dinner and dessert in small plates -- prepared at the direction of DC native, sustainable seafood advocate, and celebrity chef Barton Seaver. All Gala ticket holders will receive at least Bronze level recognition in SELECT’s signage and literature. And of course, all ticket holders will be entitled to bid on the amazing artwork available that evening. There are a limited number of party tickets available for $150 per person. These tickets provide admission to the SELECT Gala starting at 8:30pm, silent and live auction bidding, open bar, and dessert. To purchase Gala tickets or party tickets, click here.

What else is new this year for SELECT?

Not only have we added the participation of celebrity chef Barton Seaver, but this year’s dinner will allow patrons to mingle and socialize more. Patrons will not be assigned to a particular table (unless they purchase a block of ten tickets) rather they can choose to dine at any of the open tables or the lounge area. Also new this year is a live auction of art adventures. Auctioneer Dr. Martin Gammon of Bonhams will preside over this year’s live auction. Lucky bidders can enjoy exclusive access to art experiences in New York, the splendor of the French countryside, or the satisfaction of becoming a WPA underwriter.

How do I buy the art at SELECT?

All ticket holders receive a bid number when they check in at the registration table. This number is used on the bid forms that are located near the works of art. Each artwork has a posted minimum bid below which no bid will be accepted (this is the Reserve Price). The first listed price indicates the starting bid, and increases are in set increments. Decide which works you want to bid on and enter the fray! Write down your bid number on the bid sheet next to the bid amount you wish to make. If yours is the highest bid when the bidding closes, the work is yours!

What if I can’t be at the Gala? Can I still buy artwork?

Bidders who can’t make it to the Gala can make an Absentee Bid. Simply fill out the Absentee Bid form (available here) and email or fax it to Christopher Cunetto at 202-234-7106 before 5pm on March 1, 2012. Each absentee bid must be secured by a credit card and indicate the maximum bid amount you wish to make for your selected work. Successful bidders will be notified by telephone by Monday, March 5, 2012. If you purchase a work via absentee bid, the work must be removed from 1800 L Street NW by Tuesday, March 6, 2012. Artwork that does not sell the night of the Gala may be available for purchase through WPA up to a week after the event.


February 23, 2012