Garage Barrage to feature auction of 50 paintings

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The Great Niles Garage Barrage will have an added attraction this Saturday.
Lisa Croteau, Downtown Development Authority director, said in addition to the garage sale downtown, organizers are also holding a silent auction.
The auction will feature about 50 paintings once displayed in the offices and boardrooms in the former Old Kent Bank, which was at one time located on 210 E. Main St.
The silent auction will be open from 9 a.m to 4 p.m., which is also the duration of the Garage Barrage.
Bonnie Huffman, who is on the Main Street Initiative Promotions Committee and retired from Old Kent Bank, said she believes the oldest pictures are from the 1950s.
Croteau, however, said if it hadn't been for David French, who owns the building at 210 E. Main St, the auction would not have been possible.
She said when French learned about the Main Street Initiative and the city's effort to raise money to revitalize its downtown area, he decided to donate the pictures as his own contribution to downtown Niles and the community.
Croteau said minimum bids on the pictures will start at $25.
Although Huffman and Croteau are excited about the auction, they might be even more excited about the fact that some of the paintings could be worth considerably more than $25.
Croteau said she is going to try and establish the value of as many pictures as she can before the auction goes underway.
One of the pictures that will be displayed at the auction was painted by Niles artist Robert Woods in 1953, Croteau said
Another painting is by Andrew Wyeth, a famous American artist.
If all the pictures are sold during Saturday's auction, it will raise a minimum of $2,500.
Croteau said there are bargains to be had for even those who don't like the art itself. All are beautifully matted and framed, she said.
Croteau said the collection consists of prints and some originals.

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