Story last updated at 3:20 p.m. Thursday, October 31, 2002

Ritz 20

Pratt Museum fund-raiser offers evening of glitz, glamour and gaiety

by Carey James
Staff Writer

One of Homer's premier events, the Pratt Museum's annual fund-raiser, the Ritz, opens its doors Saturday evening, promising just the right mix of culture and comedy.

Ritz 2002, fund-raising art, adventure auction

  • Where: Pratt Museum

  • When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

  • Tickets: $40 per person, $75 per couple.

  • More Info: 235-8635.

  • At the core of the Ritz gala event is the art auction. This year, 76 artists donated their work, ranging from blown glass vases to classic oil landscapes. The artwork will all be auctioned off, some through a silent auction starting at 7 p.m. and ending at 8:30 p.m. and some through a rousing live auction, which starts at 8:45 p.m.

    Three local artists will add a new dimension to the art extravaganza by actually creating artwork on site. They include Gary Lyon, Jim Buncak and Willa de Sousa, who will be painting in the lower level of the museum.

    In addition to the art auction, community businesses have contributed many items, which have been packaged together in alluring combinations like a Shop Around Homer Package (featuring gift certificates to everywhere from the Fashion Outlet to the Kachemak Gear Shed), a Couch Potato Package (1/2-gallon of beer and six months of cable) and a Garden-lovers Package (garden consultations, certificates at Reid's Geenhouse and the Wagon Wheel).

    Also on the auction block this year are four round-trip tickets on Era Aviation, weekend packages at the Millennium Hotel, as well as trips to Seldovia and Halibut Cove.

    In addition to the packages, Anni Griffin will provide entertainment on classical guitar. The Homestead will provide elegant eats for the event, and a well-versed auctioneer will keep the auction entertaining.

    "The Ritz is a time-honored tradition," said organizer and museum development assistant Heidi Stage. "It's in its 17th year and it kind of has a life of its own."

    While it's a great opportunity to dress up and have a great time as well as obtain some wonderful art and prizes, the Ritz also helps the Pratt Museum with a major portion of its funding.

    In recent years, the museum has seen tough financial times, with donations slimming nationally as the economy tightens.

    "Like every nonprofit, we are hurting," said Julia Clymer, director of administration, adding that earlier this year employees took a 10 percent cut. "Now it is more important than ever for people to come out and show their support for this institution. This is our big fund-raiser of the year."

    Clymer said the goal this year is to raise $20,000 from the Ritz. Funding goes directly to fund public exhibitions and the arts.

    "(The funds) are absolutely vital," she said. "It touches on the core of what we do."

    As sell-outs have been common in years past, buying tickets in advance at the museum or the Homer Bookstore is recommended.

    Carey James can be reached at