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‘Wet Paint’ raises $200K for museum

MAGICIAN TOBIAS WEINBERGER entertained patrons at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s “Wet Paint” event. Leigh Cavalier/Special to the Index-Tribune

MAGICIAN TOBIAS WEINBERGER entertained patrons at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s “Wet Paint” event. Leigh Cavalier/Special to the Index-Tribune

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On Saturday, June 21, more than 160 guests dressed in their finest summer whites strolled into Ramekins, to begin the evening that was the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s biggest fundraiser of the year, Wet Paint 2014. The event raised about $200,000 for the museum.

A whimsical mid-summer night’s fairyland was the setting for the robust silent auction which included a variety of items including photographs from the Sonoma Valley High School photography program, lunch with Eleanor Coppola and the opportunity to drive a Ferrari. Andean music floated over Ramekin’s courtyard where magic and sword-swallowing by Tobias Weinberger entertained guests. A summer feast by Ramekin’s chef John McFarland along with a lively auction of art and trips completed the evening.

SVMA raises approximately one-third of its annual budget with this event. The “Fund A Dream,” which included moving talks by artist Erik Castro and Renee Serota, a student from the museum’s camp raised close to $50,000. Event Chairs Simon Blattner, Katharine Kunst and Barbara Wells were thrilled with the results.

Kunst said, “Summer Solstice will never be the same. The magic in the air was obvious everywhere you looked. We invited guests to give and dream big, and they did. We are so grateful for the guests, volunteers and staff who made this Wet Paint such a smashing success.”

With more than 1,000 members, the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is the largest visual arts organization in the San Francisco North Bay region of Sonoma, Marin, Napa, and Solano counties. Founded in 1998, SVMA exhibits the work of local, national, and international artists such as Rodin, Rivera, Goya, and Picasso, to date staging more than 100 exhibitions attracting more than 100,000 visitors.

The museum is also the leading source of art education in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District, serving more than 2,000 students annually. Its education outreach includes school tours, an annual student art exhibition, and adult art lectures and history courses.

The museum, at 551 Broadway in Sonoma, is open to the general public during exhibitions Wednesday through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for individuals, free to the public on Wednesdays, and always free to members.