MARQUETTE - Processing donated items is an everyday task at The Society of St. Vincent de Paul store and pantry in Marquette.
On occasion though, employees discover unusual items that stand out, and a recent anonymously donated watercolor painting has proven to be a diamond in the rough.
While traveling through the usual check points at the store, employees set aside an art piece that they believed carried some value. Clara Braden, a volunteer researcher and consultant for the society, was called in to verify its authenticity.
St. Vincent de Paul store manager Stephanie Bordeaux is seen adjusting the painting by Jane Bertram-Miluski. The painting depicts Lake Independence in Big Bay and retails for $600. It is on display in a silent auction at the SVDP store in Marquette until Tuesday. (Journal photo by Abbey Hauswirth)
Braden was able to contact Pennsylvanian artist Jane Bertram-Miluski via email, who confirmed it was an original work by her.
The painting, titled "Sunrise at the Depot," was inspired by Lake Independence in Big Bay. Miluski, a well-known artist, frequents the Upper Peninsula. Michigan lakes are often depicted in her water themes.
"It's an absolutely beautiful piece," said Stephanie Bordeaux, St. Vincent store manager.
Bordeaux said the artwork retails at $600. It is on display at the society store in Marquette in a silent auction. The money raised will go directly to the society to help those in need.
"She (Miluski) loved the fact that her painting will go toward helping the Marquette community," Bordeaux said, adding it is rare to find pieces like this that generate funds.
So far, there has been a steady volume of interest in the painting, she said.
Miluski has had solo exhibits at Hedgerow Theatre and the Darlington Fine Arts Center. In addition, Miluski has taken part in collaborative shows including the Transparent Watercolor Society of America, Philadelphia Water Color Society and the Rittenhouse Square Fine Arts Show. Her work has also been featured in the 2004 publication of "American Artist," magazine. Miluski has worked alongside many Marquette artists during past visits.
Braden noted that finding the painting, especially during the holiday season when funds are greatly needed at St. Vincent de Paul, was a wonderful surprise.
"It's a way to help a community out and still have a piece of history," Braden said.
The auction for the painting will end Tuesday. As of today, the bidding price was at $190.
For more information, contact the society at 226-3721.
Abbey Hauswirth can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.