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For the children: Online auction to benefit local music and arts programs geared towards kids

The National Institute of Flamenco is a beneficiary of the 2020 Vintage Albuquerque Virtual Holiday Auction. (Courtesy of Vintage Albuquerque)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Vintage Albuquerque’s online auction in July was so successful that they are bringing it back for the holidays.

Supporters have a number of items to bid on, including wines from around the world, art, jewelry and more.

Proceeds from the Vintage Albuquerque Fine Wine & Art Virtual Auction benefit children’s music and art programs in Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico. The beneficiaries for this auction are Explora Science Center & Children’s Museum of Albuquerque, Keshet Dance & Center for the Arts, and the National Institute of Flamenco.

Proceeds from 2020 Vintage Albuquerque Virtual Holiday Auction help benefit Keshet Dance & Center for the Arts. (Courtesy of Pat Berrett)

“We did this in July and we raised unbelievably, we did so well,” said Linda Wedeen, Vintage Albuquerque executive director. “We raised a lot of money and we were able to give out somewhere around $30,000 to our beneficiaries. So we want to do that again, because, you know, they’re out there and they’re working real hard to keep up their programs. And, you can imagine the difficult days because these are with kids, you know, most of the programs are with kids.

“It’s for youth and they’re trying to do things where they keep them engaged without having to be in person, obviously. So I’ve been working with the three that we’re doing now, which is Keshet, Explora and National Institute of Flamenco. And they’re all doing amazing things. So we really want to just keep supporting them and keep those kids engaged with their outreach.”

The beneficiaries are doing what they can virtually to keep children who participate in their programs connected.

“So right now, I know that (National Institute of) Flamenco’s been doing a bunch of online classes, so has Explora,” Wedeen said. “They’ve been doing a lot of online things. And Keshet has also been doing a lot of online things. So that is basically what they’re doing, whether they’re using Zoom or other venues. But they are engaging all these kids online, believe it or not. And so when I was talking to them, I said, how do you do that? Actually, they say it’s amazing, but the parents and the kids are still into it, so they want to do it. So it’s great.”

Italian Women Winemakers: 14 Bottles of Fantastic Italian Wines made by Women will be one of the 2020 Vintage Albuquerque Virtual Holiday Auction. (Courtesy of Vintage Albuquerque)

The online auction will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 and end at 11:59 p.m. Dec. 12 at vintagealbuquerque.org.

“People can go on there and see a list of all the items that we have right now, and we’ll be putting some more,” Wedeen said. “We’ve got something like 72 or 73 packages of things to bid on. And they range from wine to art to jewelry… Everything from nice jewelry that would be a great present that’s not over-the-top expensive. Just some really nice collections of wines to some dinners, you know.”

Each year Vintage Albuquerque showcases beautiful international wines at its events.

“Our donors come from different places,” Wedeen said. “For instance, Vara’s donating some wine to us and they’re local. You know, folks are donating wine and spirits and a dinner. We’ve gotten some donations that came directly from California wineries. Then we have people who donate wines out of their own collections to us. So we might have a donor give us five bottles of cabernet that could vary from maybe they’re all from Napa Valley or maybe they’re Bordeauxes from France.

“Village in the Fall” painting by Cate Stetson will be one of the 2020 Vintage Albuquerque Virtual Holiday Auction. (Courtesy of Vintage Albuquerque)

“So we get different donations. And then art, the same thing. We get art from people who actually make the art and then we get art from people who collect the art… Our donations come from people that have been donating to us for many, many years. But also what’s great is the beneficiaries work really hard and they get some of their people to donate. Some of their supporters. So they’re engaging their supporters to help them, to help us raise money for them. Which is great, because it kind of broadens our umbrella where we can get donations from.”

A portion of the proceeds from 2020 Vintage Albuquerque Virtual Holiday Auction benefit Explora Science Center & Children’s Museum of Albuquerque.

This year, Vintage Albuquerque received about 30 proposals from children’s art and music programs interested in being chosen as a beneficiary.

“We’d love to give to everybody, but you can’t do that, obviously,” Wedeen said. “So what we try to do is figure out as a committee. (We have a) board that works on it and they try to figure out where we can give them the most bang for the buck, and what they’re proposing for their programs and how they utilize the funds, et cetera so that we know what money we’re able to give to them and they’re able to really utilize in the best way they can. And that’s not an easy decision… Over the years, we’ve had a number of different beneficiaries. We’ve given out millions of dollars over the years. It’s great to be able to do all that.”

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