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Andrea's memory lives on with annual art auction

For the eighth straight year, Andrea's Art Auction and Sale will link local and student artists with the community, both in memory of one young artist and in support of current students pursuing a career in the arts.

Organized in memory of West Genesee student Andrea Morelli, the Friday May 29 event will feature around 70 pieces of artwork by local high school students and staff in a live auction, along with a silent auction of around 25 pieces of local and professional artists' work.

Funding the future

Two high school seniors pursuing an art-related field will also be awarded scholarships during the event, a part of the evening Morelli's mother, Laura Smelski, is particularly proud of.

"I'm just trying to give back to the community," Smelski said.

The first year, the organization was able to donate about $500 to one West Genesee senior. In only eight years, the scholarships have doubled - a senior at WG and Henninger will each receive an award - and the amount has increased to around $1,000 for each scholarship.

To apply for an award, students must submit an original artwork for critique and write an essay prior to the auction. Their artwork is critiqued by three judges and is also up for bid during the live auction.

Both Smelski and West Genesee art teacher Gail Glagola said the critique process is high-caliber; each student's submission is reviewed by three judges who in the past have included art teachers, art historians and professional artists.

Glagola called the auction and scholarship a "little-known, very fantastic opportunity" for students, both in presenting their work publicly and to help fund their education.

"The judging is as good as any other competition, it's very carefully constructed," Glagola added.

There has been such growing interest in the annual event that it now includes tables of jewelry and local arts and crafts for sale, in addition to the live and silent auctions.

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