You can’t throw away art. So the Hays Arts Council did the next best thing to clean out its closets — a garage sale, billed as an “Artful Resale.”
With items including originals and reproductions of works by artists familiar to the area, including John C. Thorns, John Cody and Frank Nichols, and unclaimed student artwork, the council hoped the sale will make up for the Ellis County Commission’s decision to eliminate the HAC’s funding in the 2020 budget.
The HAC had asked for $3,385 for 2020.
The commission will conduct a public hearing on the budget during its meeting Monday evening, and then will consider approval of the budget.
The art sale is not a retribution to the county commissioners, however, Brenda Meder, executive director of the Hays Arts Council, said, adding a small amount from them would have been nice.
“I know they made cuts across the board. It would have been nice to be validated with a little something. But I know everybody’s got to suck it up,” Meder said.
The amount the county cut is just enough, Meder said, that she thought the HAC could catch up with an art sale, something she had been contemplating doing for some time.
“We’ve done this before, but it’s been awhile,” she said Friday afternoon, as she and other volunteers made final preparations for the sale.
Much of the artwork was in storage — donations from Commerce Bank when it moved from downtown or artists who moved from town, and contest entries and student artwork never claimed.
A small crowd browsed the selections of paintings, prints, drawings, ceramics, posters, photographs and sculptures shortly after the sale opened at 5 p.m. Friday in the HAC Annex, 1010 Main. There was also a selection of Thomas Kinkade Christmas ornaments, some of them in original packaging. Prices ranged from $1 for small matted prints, $50 for framed photographs to $750 for larger, original paintings.
“You can’t throw away art. I don’t even care if it’s not like amazing art,” Meder said.
Recently, the HAC received a donation of original works by Thorns, reproductions of works by Cody — known as the “Audobon of Moths” — and others.
It was the pieces by Thorns that brought Armando Orozco and Marisa Johnson, of Hays, to the sale soon after opening Friday.
“I’ve been wanting to get one for quite awhile,” Orozco said. He and Johnson discussed the four Thorns pieces with Meder for a while.
Thorns retired as chairman of the Fort Hays State University Department of Art and Design in 1990 and managed the Hadley Foundation Art Collection at Hays Medical Center.
The FHSU art department’s gallery is named for him and his predecessor, Joel Moss. Thorns died in 2014.
Orozco and Johnson decided to take home a different artist’s work, however — retired FHSU professor Michael Jilg.
“We do have two of Michael’s pieces already, and it will go perfect,” he said.
“Eventually I plan on getting one, hopefully,” he said of Thorns’ work.