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Online auction raises money for a Mayfield art gallery

The Ice House Gallery after it was severely damaged from Dec. 10 tornado outbreak.
Ice House Gallery
Nanc Gunn
The Ice House Gallery after it was severely damaged from Dec. 10 tornado outbreak.

An online art auction is raising money for the Ice House Gallery in Mayfield after the Dec. 10 tornado outbreak destroyed the gallery’s building.

The gallery, located at 120 North Eighth Street., lost a large portion of its artwork and much of what survived was badly damaged.

Nanc Gunn, director of the Ice House Gallery, says she and her husband, Bill, gathered as much artwork as they could. She said repairing the artwork was long and tedious. Most of the paintings were either torn, stabbed or covered in mud.

“We prayed that the gallery would survive the tornado,” Gunn said. “When we went to Mayfield early the next morning we realized it was a total loss. My first plan was to reunite artists with their art. We had several art reunion parties just to reunite the art with its owners.”

A statue created by Bill Nelson was recovered from the front porch of the gallery. Gunn says Julie Schweitzer, director of the Harrison County Art Guild in Corydon, Indiana, heard of the Ice House through Nelson.

Along with other art galleries in Kentucky, Schweitzer organized an online art auction to help raise money for the gallery. Artists from several states including Kentucky and Indiana have donated their artwork to the auction.

One of the donated pieces was from the Ice House Gallery itself. The piece is a wooden table, created by Sue Farthing, that survived the tornado after it was blown across the room and found upside down in the gallery.

“The tornado would have done the exact same thing to Corydon,” Schweitzer told WKMS. “It could have just as easily been us and could have been the same devastation.”

Schweitzer and the Harrison County Art Guild first sent a trailer filled with supplies to the tornado victims in Mayfield. A friend of Schweitzer donated 11 art pieces to sell to benefit tornado victims.

Schweitzer then got the idea to create an online art auction. After the auction was put online more artists started donating their artwork. Schweitzer says the auction grew and a wide range of artists from different places donated.

“Anytime you ask an artist to give their work they are the first to do it,” Schweitzer says. “It makes me very proud of our arts community that our people are so giving and so compassionate.”

Schweitzer says she hopes to organize more relief efforts with the arts community in western Kentucky as the region recovers. She says people have already asked to donate furniture when the Ice House Gallery rebuilds. She says she will continue to help Ice House as their situation develops.

For more information, visit the auction’s webpage. To donate to the Ice House Gallery and the Mayfield Graves County Art guild visit their gofundme page.

Mason Galemore is a Murray State student studying journalism. He was the editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper. Since then has explored different publication avenues such as broadcasting. He hopes to travel as a journalist documenting conflict zones and different cultures. He remembers watching the Arab Spring in 2011 via the news when he was a kid, which dawned in a new age of journalism grounded in social media. His favorite hobbies are hiking, photography, reading, writing and playing with his Australian Shepard, Izzy. He is originally from Charleston, Missouri.
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