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Academy of Art University Raises Significant Funds with Fine Art Auction

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- On Saturday, November 8, 2008, more than 200 art collectors, dealers, and enthusiasts gathered at the 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 AAU 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 AAU. 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 AAU 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 School of Fine Art students through our merit-based juries at the 2009 Annual Spring Show this coming May.”

Each year, the Academy of Art University’s Annual Faculty & Alumni Fine Art Auction offers guests a unique opportunity to support emerging student artists by bidding on works graciously provided by some of the finest internationally collected artists from the Bay Area. Many of the featured AAU Faculty and Alumni from the 2008 auction, including Erik Blome, Margaret Keelan, Laurie Kersey, Po Pin Lin, Carolyn Meyer, Kevin Moore, Craig Nelson, Siddharth Parasnis, Tae Park, Bill Rhea, and Peter Schifrin have representation at esteemed galleries nationwide and have earned coveted accolades in wide-ranging competitions and publications. As in past years, half of the proceeds from the 13th Annual Faculty & Alumni Fine Art Auction will benefit students through the Fine Art Student Scholarship Fund, with the rest going directly to the artists themselves.

Zachary Zdrale came to the Academy of Art University’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. By the time of his graduation, Zdrale won the prestigious First Place in MFA Painting Award at the 2006 AAU Annual Spring Show. His stirring mastery in figurative realism echoes the classical traditions of the Renaissance, imparting an aesthetic of stillness and silence to Zdrale’s modern day models. Now a prominent artist at the John Pence Gallery, Zdrale has also exhibited at the Eleanor Ettinger Gallery in New York, NY; the Wendt Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA; and the 2008 Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition at Dana Gallery in Missoula, Montana. Crediting the “excellent instructors” at AAU in establishing a successful career as a fine artist, Zdrale himself now teaches rising young artists as a School of Fine Art instructor.

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. Enriquez attended the Academy of Art University as a student and now teaches in the School of Fine Art Sculpture. Thinking of his students, Enriquez shares, “The energy of their youth, the untainted imagination, and with every student a different mind, with a different logic and taste: put a group of them together and the variety you get to see!”

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. Blood devotes much of his time to teaching popular workshops near his home in Pebble Beach. His recent achievements include the Best Local Artist Award, the Artist’s Choice Award, and the People’s Choice Award at the 2008 Carmel Art Festival in Carmel, CA; the Southwest Art Award of Excellence; showing at the 96th Annual California Art Club’s Gold Medal Exhibition; the 2005 People’s Choice Award at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville, CA; and the Landscape Award of Excellence at Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art’s 2005 Salon International in San Antonio, TX. Blood was recently honored as an Outstanding Alumnus and awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the Academy of Art University.

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