Story by S.L. Hansen
LINCOLN (SNR) - The Parish Council of Catholic Women (PCCW) of the Cathedral of the Risen Christ Parish in Lincoln will host its 50th annual Art Show and Sale Sept. 10-11, “Festival of Art.”
Free and open to the public – except for associated special events – the show includes a wide range of high-quality items, including fine and religious jewelry, sculpture, watercolor, oils, acrylics, photography and other fine arts.
“There is truly something for everyone’s budget as well as taste at the 2016 show,” said Mary Volkmer, general chairperson.
This is her first year chairing the art show, although she has been involved in other capacities for the last 10 years.
“The art show has served as the primary fundraiser for the PCCW (Altar Society),” she said. “We use the funds to support the corporal and spiritual works of the church.”
That includes purchasing the bread and wine for Holy Communion, supplying candles and baptism clothes, and paying for a variety of other items or improvements as requested by the rector, Msgr. Robert Tucker.
“We also take care of all funeral dinners, serve a variety of receptions, and other activities through out the year,” Mrs. Volkmer added. In addition to parish events, the Cathedral, as mother church of the diocese, hosts many diocesan events each year. Catehdral’s PCCW currently includes about 180 active members in nine separate circles.
The Catholic Church has long supported and celebrated fine art, incorporating beautiful frescoes, stained glass, sculpture and other forms of art into church buildings.
“When we celebrate art, in all its forms, we come closer to the divine,” Mrs. Volkmer said. “When we create art we are trying in a small way to further the beauty and awe that we feel.”
The Cathedral Art Show began in 1966 as one element of the altar society’s annual Christmas fair. Each sub-group of the altar society was asked to create a booth of items for sale and given a goal of $100 net.
As the story goes, the ladies who belonged to St. Jude’s group rejected one idea after another until Julia Saski, an award-winning artist who had emigrated to the U.S. from Poland, suggested they sell paintings. Not just hers, of course – she was happy to recruit some canvases created by artist friends of hers from the Lincoln Artists Guild. The St. Jude’s group made their $100 and decided to continue to offer art each year.
In 1971, the Altar Society members elected to simplify their annual event, rather than offering so many different booths. Mrs. Saski’s art show was the winning idea.
Mrs. Saski served as director until her death in 1980, with a chairman to do legwork. She had high standards for the show, refusing to allow “kitsch.” All artists had their work juried by a committee. She invited artists from Lincoln and the surrounding area to show and sell their works for a reasonable fee of 20% of sales.
The ladies tried several different themes to entice people to the art show. First, they did “Foreign Tasting Teas,” with delectables representing different countries. Recipes were sold as part of the fundraisers. They later opted for various other menus.
By the late 1970s, a wine and cheese party was added with a sneak preview of the works displayed. Profits continued to rise – one year during that decade, the show netted $10,000 between art commissions and food sales.
Since Mrs. Saski’s death, the art show has continued to grow and evolve through the years.
“Each year we try to bring something new and exciting to the festival, to keep it relevant and exciting,” Volkmer said. “This year that includes the youth event and the Saturday evening gala event.”
The art show opens Saturday, Sept. 10 at 10 a.m., although baked goods, juice and coffee are available for a free-will donation beginning at 8 a.m., and some artists may start selling at that time. Lunch will be available between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at a cost of $5.
Saturday evening is the “Red Carpet Gala” event. For $20 per person, guests can enjoy beer, wine and food pairings, along with a silent auction of a number of works by the artists. Someone will win the “Night on the Town” drawing, which includes a voucher for one night at the Embassy Suites, dinner and a movie.
On Sunday, the art show is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., again featuring baked goods, coffee and juice for free-will donations. At 1 p.m. will be the premier “Youth Artists Event,” featuring younger artists who will sell their work.
The grand finale – the annual raffle – will start at 4 p.m., though winners need not be present to win. Raffle tickets can be purchased at any time during the show for $2 each or five for $10. Prizes include $1,000, $500, jewelry and other cash awards.