‘Imagine!’ Provides Opportunities For Louisville Youth

Alexandra Thurstone.

Alexandra Thurstone.

St. Francis School, an independent, non-denominational, progressive school on three campuses – Downtown (9-12), Goshen (K-8), and Harrods Creek (Preschool) – is holding their 17th annual Imagine! Art Auction and Scholarship Fundraiser. The school’s commitment to diversity and to providing need-based aid to each qualified student is bar none in the area.

Imagine! has consistently been one of Louisville’s most prestigious art auctions and social events of the year. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised will support their scholarship fund, which includes the “New American” and “Talented Minority Youth” scholarship programs. The Imagine! event is vital for continuing the scholarship program and fulfilling the St. Francis mission.

A current scholarship student at the St. Francis downtown campus says, “It’s everything you could want in a high school. It’s accepting, diverse, and you can be who you are, every day. I didn’t know school could be like this … like a family.”

LORI KOMMMOR: Why has this event been so successful for the school for the past 16 years?

ALEXANDRA THURSTONE: The Louisville community should be applauded for making this event such a success, year after year. The local and regional art community has shown its support as well by continuing to provide amazing art pieces year after year. We receive absolutely top-quality art for this event, and we do our best to promote the wonderful artists who make the event possible.

The Imagine! event is a very special evening. For the past 16 years, artists, art buyers, community leaders, St. Francis parents, alumni and many Louisvillians who support diversity in education and love art all come together to show their support for our very unique scholarship program. This is not just an event for St. Francis parents!

The scholarship program at St. Francis is unique, not just in Louisville but nationally as well; over 40 percent of our students at the downtown campus are minority or foreign-born and over 45 percent of our students receive need-based financial aid to attend the school. This is almost double the average for independent schools nationally. We highlight that commitment to diversity throughout the entire event. Ask anyone who has come to Imagine! – it’s one of the most high-energy, eclectic, fabulous events
of the year.

KOMMOR: For art and jewelry buyers, what is the benefit of buying at “Imagine!”?

THURSTONE: Several reasons: first, there’s something for everyone – many mediums are represented, including photography, oil on canvas, watercolor, collage, sculpture and pastel on paper – and works by jewelry and glass artists will again be highlighted this year. We have something for everyone!

Second, you can’t beat the jewelry offerings for Valentine’s Day – every year, I give my husband a little nudge towards my favorite items, and of course he usually finds something fabulous that I hadn’t even noticed.

Third, we have this great electronic bidding system that’s like a smartphone – BidPal. It lets you easily tag your favorite items and notifies you if you get outbid.

Finally and most importantly, years ago we signed the artist agreement with Ann Stewart Anderson to protect the artists by not devaluing their work. In signing that agreement, we split the sales of the art with the artist 50/50. So, when you buy at Imagine!, you are not only supporting the unique scholarship program at St. Francis School, you are also supporting our amazing local artists with
your purchase.

KOMMOR: Tell me some of the highlights of the event.

THURSTONE: Imagine! is Friday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m. at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, which is a beautiful venue that every Louisvillian needs to see. I would like to mention just a few of the outstanding artists participating this year: St. Francis’ own Artist-in-Residence Gaela Erwin; Bryce Hudson; 1990 St. Francis alumus Jason Cohen; Daniel Melo; Matthew Cummings; Julius Friedman; Valerie Fuchs; and Bob Hower.

The delicious dinner is being catered by St. Francis alumna Sue Hershberg of Wiltshire Pantry, one of Louisville’s finest. Dinner guests will have first look at and the “first dibs” chance to bid on the art in the silent auction, as well as the chance to bid on big-ticket items in the live auction, for example, trips to Cape Cod; Naples, Fla.; and Chicago; and a portrait by renowned painter and our Artist-in-Residence Gaela Erwin, who has exhibited at The Speed (Art) Museum and at 21c.

All of our guests will have the opportunity to purchase a VIP raffle ticket for a week’s stay at the beautifully restored Maison Rose. The house sleeps six and is located in St-Jean-de-Cole, France, designated one of the 144 Most Beautiful Villages in France. The VIP raffle tickets are being sold for $500 (Maison Rose normally rents for $3,500), and we are only selling 25 tickets.

To attend the event, tickets can be purchased through the school’s website at www.stfrancisschool.org by clicking on the Imagine! button on the homepage, or through the reservation line at 502.736.1005. For more information about Imagine! 2013, including a complete list of the live auction items, raffle items and a preview of the silent art, please visit the website.

Tickets for the Imagine! 2013 dinner and live auction (at 7 p.m.) are $150 per person. Dessert reception and silent auction tickets (at 9 p.m.) are $75 per person. We are also pleased to announce that the chair of the event for the second year is Scott Gregor, and for the third year, Kevin Harned, chief meteorologist at WAVE-TV, will emcee the event and will also be the auctioneer.