Inspired by a similar event at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Traverse City Quotarians in Michigan, U.S.A., spearheaded their first annual Attic Art Sale last year. They decided to collect gently used art objects, clean them up, and sell them at a fund-raising event. Together, the club was able to find space, generate publicity, and prepare the materials and program for the big day, but they needed more than just their own used art to truly make the event a success.
Enter the community. Traverse City members not only donated their own art and picked up items at garage sales, but they also solicited donations from the public by advertising in the local Traverse City Record-Eagle, appearing on an area talk show, and contacting local resorts and hotels for unused artwork. Their phones rang off the hook, and soon members were driving all over town picking up the art and delivering it to the drop-off site.
Then the fun really began. Quotarians gathered with rags and cleaning supplies to prepare the art for sale. These gatherings were about more than cleaning, though. They gave the members an opportunity to talk, eat, and laugh with one another. “Our cleaning parties were fun and brought our club members closer to one another,” said event coordinator and past international board member Patti Schaap.
The bonus? Not only did the club collect enough art to fill the hall, but every donor knew about the event. Engaging the community also meant their investment in the sale. This was clear on the day of the Attic Art Sale: a half-hour before the door opened, a line had formed. Once the shoppers entered, they had an opportunity to not only purchase items, but also win door prizes, enjoy donated cider and donuts, and learn more about Quota.
At the end of the day, Traverse City Quotarians had earned U.S.$5,771.20 in sales, but that wasn’t all. They’d also gained increased visibility in their community, formed relationships with local businesses and residents, and had a great time with one another.
“The fund-raiser made our community more aware of Quota and what we do,” said Patti. “It also brought our club together in a very positive way.”