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U.P. Children’s Museum to host 16th annual Celebrity Art Auction

Aaron Ranta works on the piece of art by him and his wife, Cortney Ranta, that will be up for sale at the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum’s 16th annual Celebrity Art Auction on Thursday. The art viewing will start at 5:30 p.m. and the auction starts at 7 p.m. The UPCM is located at 123 West Baraga Ave., Marquette. Admission is free and adult only. There will be appetizers, beer, wine and a dessert bar. (Photo courtesy of Cortney Ranta)

MARQUETTE — Are you interested in purchasing a new piece of art for your house, work or a loved one, all while supporting a good cause? If so, then on Thursday you will want to stop by the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum in Marquette for the 16th Annual Celebrity Art Auction.

“It’s a creatively fun event where we ask celebrities, who are not artists, to create art for us, and ‘art’ is relative. What these celebrities come up with is charming, funny, awesome and just plain fun,” said Nheena Weyer Ittner, director of the UPCM, which is located at 123 West Baraga Ave., Marquette.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with appetizers, wine, beer and a dessert bar available to enjoy while viewing the art. The auction will start at 7 p.m. Organizers said this is an adult-only event with free admission.

The museum has been operating for over 20 years, and officials said fundraisers like the art auction play an integral role in the continuation of the museum’s success.

“It has been consistently our biggest single fundraising event,” Weyer Ittner said. “It averages a net income of $15,000-$21,000.”

The funds raised from the auction go toward the museum’s annual campaign drive, and cover basic expenses to keep the museum operating.

The museum’s mission, according to its website, is: “Engaging youth and families to discover through interactive exhibits and learning opportunities.”

This year there will be over 27 artists who have made a piece of art to be auctioned off and taken home Thursday night. One local Marquette couple, Cortney and Aaron Ranta were nominated to be artists for this year’s auction.

“It’s been fun collaborating on this piece together; however, I have to be honest and say that Aaron is the one with all the talent,” Cortney Ranta said. “We hope whomever ends up with it can appreciate the thought and hard work that has gone into it. The design was inspired by a similar piece we have in our home that we feel any Yooper would want to display in their own space. It’s amazing what a few pallet boards can create.”

A committee consisting of 10 individuals from the Marquette community each year gathers names of possible local celebrities for the next year’s auction, and the celebrities are then reviewed and asked to participate.

“We’ve heard of the event through friends and family who have attended in the past; however, last year was the first time we were able to go,” Cortney Ranta said. “It was surprising to see how many talented people we have here in the community. Overall, it was an amazing event that we would recommend anyone to attend at least once.”

For more information about the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum’s 16th annual Celebrity Art Auction, visit the museum’s website at http://www.upchildrensmuseum.org/2019/11/10/celebrity-art-auction-december-5/ or visit the museum’s Facebook page.

Amy Grigas can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243.

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