Art Auction Raises Funds for ORT
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Art Auction Raises Funds for ORT

After a two-year hiatus, the auction to benefit ORT’s educational programs took place in the Stave Room.

After 35 years with the Atlanta newspapers, Marcia currently serves as Retail VP for the Buckhead Business Association, where she delivers news and trends (laced with a little gossip).

Pausing to chat under the ORT 100 sign, (L to R) ORT International CEO Barbara Birch, local ORT President Sari Marmur and ORT Regional Director Rachel Miller.
Pausing to chat under the ORT 100 sign, (L to R) ORT International CEO Barbara Birch, local ORT President Sari Marmur and ORT Regional Director Rachel Miller.

On Sunday evening, March 13, following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, O/Art in the City drew a crowd of 250 to the Stave Room.

Guests from Tennessee, Israel and New York streamed into the cavernous warehouse space, filled with artists auctioning off their pieces to raise funds for ORT’s causes.

The silent auction gave attendees the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind works by artists from across the Southeast. Photographers, painters, fabric artists and ceramists were asked to create original designs around the theme of “Connections.” ORT Regional Director Rachel Miller said she was “thrilled that so many artists are willing to share their talent to come together tonight to support ORT.”

Austin Center traveled from Chattanooga to auction his ceramic “Tree of Life,” based on a poem about children escaping Nazi Germany.

Event co-chair Leslie Moradi introduced Amos Gofer, CEO of Kfar Silver Youth Village near Gaza and the city of Ashkelon in Israel, who told the audience that some child refugees from Ukraine have already arrived. “We expect another 15 or 20, mostly orphans, whose emotional and other needs will be met,” he said. “They are lucky as Jews to have someplace to go. As Natan Sharansky said, ‘It’s a good thing to be Jewish.’”

Many artists stood alongside their works and were eager to explain how they related to the Connections theme. Austin Center drove in from Chattanooga with his elaborate ceramic “Tree of Life,” based on a poem about the Kindertransport — the evacuation of children from Nazi-controlled territory prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.

“This tree represents the healing and faith carried out by those children and their offspring as branches,” said Center. “Note the cracks and scars here. I made only three of these. One resides in the Mitzvah Congregation in Chattanooga, one was auctioned at a South African ORT function where proceeds benefited refugees; and this is the last one.” He estimated that it was valued at $7,500, but was, in one word, “priceless.”

“As a first-time contributor, I am delighted to be here and amazed,” artist Ann Rawn commented, as there is no end to the creativity on display.” Attorney David Katz was proud of his wife, Shelly, who displayed her piece, “Familiar Hearts,” with bids starting at $250. Adrina Richard’s cheerful “Vessel with Side Hands,” with a starting bid of $450, heralded spring with blooming yellow tulips.

Leslie Moradi, co-chair of the event, introduced Amos Gofer, who spoke about Ukrainian children finding refuge in his Youth Village near Gaza.

Artist Barbara Flexner, who was a practicing architect before transitioning to art, combined the two disciplines with her watercolor “Circles,” estimated at $800.

Attendees were asked to vote on their favorite artists to win the Joe Cohen People’s Choice Award.

Phyllis Cohen spoke in memory of her late husband, Joe, who was a refugee from Egypt and an ORT student in Paris, eventually rising to ORT’s national president position. Cohen presented awards to Adam Podber, Adrina Richard and Susan Proctor.

The menu, by District Events and Catering, featured hand-passed hors d’oeuvres, followed by arugula salad, pasta farfalle in white wine garlic sauce, herb roasted snapper and assorted roasted vegetables. Dessert included fresh fruit kabobs, mint Oreo mousse cups, chocolate chip cookies and iced ORT cookies for attendees to take home.

“Since we’ve had to cancel two years in a row based on the pandemic, I am so excited to be here and helping such a good cause,” said host committee chair Beth Friedman. Local ORT President Sari Marmur emphasized that she was especially moved by this year’s focus on helping those fleeing the invasion of Ukraine.

2022 is ORT America’s centennial year. As the largest fundraising arm of World ORT, it strives to break through social and economic barriers to transform lives. The organization believes that when students from underserved communities have access to high-quality education, they are better positioned to enter the job market with viable skills, become leaders in their own right and invest back into their communities.

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