Art auction draws crowd

Published 4:00 am Saturday, August 21, 2010

When Dauphin Island Sea Lab Foundation director Helene Hassell learned that word of an art auction to benefit the foundation had spread to California, she was expecting success.
“I knew it would be big,” she said Thursday night, standing amid a crowd of Brewton area residents who came to bid on art at the Funds for Fishes auction.
More than 400 people attended the event at The Hourglass, the brainchild of 9-year-old Lyon Jernigan, raised more than $18,000 for the Dauphin Island Sea Lab Foundation.
“We’re all so thankful for Lyon’s vision,” said his mother, Emmie Jernigan, who organized the event. “We’re so thankful for each of you. Many of you traveled a long way to be here.”
The art traveled from near and far as well. In addition to many donations from local artists, the auction attracted attention and artwork from across the country. About 200 pieces were included in the auction.
Hassell said she was impressed by the Jernigan family’s commitment to the project.
“With Emmie and Lyon’s energy — they were so enthusiastic,” she said.
The foundation supports the work of the sea lab, which is heavily involved right now in the gulf coast’s recovery from the oil spill.
“The research they are doing is really going to lead the way in the recovery,” Hassell said.
Jernigan said she was thrilled with the turnout.
“It was fabulous,” she said.
As for Lyon’s reaction, Jernigan said he was “so excited.”
“He was beaming when I told him $18,000,” she said.

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