Painted Stave rolls out the barrel for art auction

SMYRNA –– The third annual Painted Stave Art Auction is just around the corner. The auction, benefiting the Delaware AeroSpace Education Foundation will support science, technology, engineering and mathematics education programs for young girls across the state.

“It’s a perfect fit because my business partner, Mike Rasmussen, and I both have backgrounds in science and we are both raising girls and I think girls aren’t always encouraged to be interested in or pursue a career in the fields of science and math,” said Ron Gomes, co-owner of Painted Stave Distilling in Smyrna.

The auction started in 2014 after the Painted Stave saw interest in its art gallery as an opportunity to raise money.

“The gallery has always been part of our vision for the distillery and people walk through it every day and customers have always asked if the art’s for sale. So we figured an auction would be a great way to raise money,” Mr. Gomes said.

“Instead of taking a commission on the works sold, we can use an auction to donate to a local nonprofit.”

After the success of the 2014 event, he and Mr. Rasmussen decided to make it an annual event.

“It’s just been such a good event and it’s a lot of fun. So we’re going to continue hosting it and we’re working to make it bigger and better each time,” Mr. Gomes said.

Although the auction isn’t until Nov. 12, the exhibition will officially open on Sept. 23 at an artist meet and greet from 7 to 10 p.m.

All 16 artists will be at the event to talk about their pieces –– each of which incorporates a barrel stave, one of the pieces of wood that makes up a barrel, or the head of the barrel that formerly contained one of the distillery’s spirits.

“All of the artists are from either Delaware or Maryland and we found them through local art groups and art leagues,” Mr. Gomes said.

“Aside from the staves and barrel heads, we pretty much gave them free rein so we have a lot of unique pieces. It’s really interesting to see what each artist was able to create with a stave.”

Pieces range from a guitar to a gear to a floral print.

Last year, $1,700 was raised at the auction and the funds went on to support numerous after-school and weekend workshops in schools and at the DASEF station in Smyrna.

DASEF is a Smyrna-based nonprofit that aims to increase visibility of the value of a K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Its aim is to motivate, engage, educate and inspire people from diverse backgrounds and communities in Delaware in learning about science, space, technology, engineering, earth’s environment and mathematics.

“The meet and greet is a good opportunity to learn about the work DASEF does within the community too,” Mr. Gomes said.

The Nov. 12 auction will coincide with the Painted Stave’s third anniversary celebration and the release of the distillery’s Diamond State Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Samples will be available at the auction.

The Painted Stave Distillery is at 106 W Commerce St. in Smyrna.

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