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Annual Auction Raises Funds for Student Scholarships

More than 200 art collectors, dealers, and enthusiasts gathered at Academy of Art University for its highly anticipated 13th Annual Faculty & Alumni Fine Art Auction. Exhibiting approximately 350 works of fresh paintings, sculpture, and jewelry by nationally esteemed Academy faculty and alumni, this year’s auction achieved an extraordinary $159,000 in fine art sales.  The artists of top-grossing works included Zack Zdrale, Earl Enriquez, and Brian Blood. 

With special thanks to Bonhams & Butterfields, an enthusiastic art collecting community from across the country generously expressed their support for students pursuing their fine art education at the Academy. As in past years, half of the proceeds from the 13th Annual Faculty & Alumni Fine Art Auction benefit students through the Fine Art Student Scholarship Fund, with the rest going directly to the artists themselves. 
As the nation’s largest private art and design university, the Academy of Art University has brought emerging artists from across the world to San Francisco for nearly eight decades.  Even amid a sharp economic downturn, all bidders at this year’s non-profit, fund-raising Fine Art Auction confirmed San Francisco’s status as one of the top emerging art centers in the world.  In addition, these informed collectors spoke volumes about the dazzling artistry of the Academy’s faculty and alumni works newly placed in hundreds of homes. 

“The incredible turnout and lively bidding at the 2008 Faculty & Alumni Fine Art Auction far exceeded my expectations,” says Dr. Elisa Stephens, President of the Academy of Art University. “The phenomenal generosity that so many collectors showed towards AAU’s emerging artists in the midst of economic uncertainty is truly inspiring.  I look forward to passing these scholarships directly on to deserving AAU students through our merit-based juries at the 2009 Annual Spring Show this coming May.”


  Zachary Zdrale came to the Academy’s School of Fine Art Painting MFA program after many years of avoiding a career in fine art out of fear.  Concluding that if he could “make great, tightly rendered, and life-like figure paintings I would be happy no matter how poor I was,” and discovering work such as this was possible in the contemporary art market when visiting John Pence Gallery in San Francisco, Zdrale pursued his dream at the Academy.

Earl Enriquez first experienced the ambition to become an artist growing up as a child in the Philippines.  Fusing his awe for such honored talents as Bernini, Caravaggio, and Velazquez with influences from contemporary sculptors Eugene Daub and Bruce Wolfe, Enriquez has built an impressive following for his bronze figurative sculpture on both sides of the Pacific.

As one of California’s most sought-after plein-air painting artists, Brian Blood has excited and inspired fine art collectors for over two decades.  Since graduating from the Academy of Art University and becoming a faculty member in the School of Fine Art, Blood’s signature California landscapes have been featured in a multitude of publications including American Artist, Art of the West, Plein Air, and Southwest Art.


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