Your Chance to Bid on Great Art – And a Room to Put It In

InLiquid's annual benefit auction showcases original works by local artists. And for this year's 20th anniversary edition, local interior designers have created rooms for showcasing them.

RareCo Vintage room arrangement at InLiquid Benefit 2019

Last year, InLiquid invited RareCo Vintage to create rooms and environments to showcase some of the artwork up for bid at its annual Benefit and Art Auction. This year, InLiquid is expanding the designer collaboration and offering participants the chance to buy the furniture too. | Photo: Captured by Cathy

When decorating your home, you have several choices.

You could go to a store like Ikea, a poster shop, or a generic home decor store and pick up some mass-produced artwork or photography.

You could go to an Old City art gallery and drop a bundle on artwork by a famed artist from beyond the region.

You could hang plants or fabrics.

Or you could go to InLiquid Art+Design’s annual Benefit and Art Auction this weekend and snag yourself an original piece by a local artist for an attractive price.

And this year, you could also walk out with a furnished room in which to hang the artwork.

That’s because the organization created to promote Philadelphia’s community of visual artists will also feature local interior designers who have been commissioned to create rooms featuring some of the works up for bid.

Ideas for improving your home with art

“The idea is to show people how they can live with art and incorporate it into a space,” says Rachel Zimmerman, InLiquid’s founder and executive director.

And if they like what they see, auction participants can also bid on the furniture in the rooms. All of the objects in every room — chairs, bookcases, tables, you name it — will also be available for purchase.

The goal, Zimmerman says, is to get participants interested in good design as well as original art. “The hope for us is that people will want the individual pieces, and the hope for the designer is that people will be so intrigued by their work that they will hire them.”

An extension of InLiquid’s mission

In a sense, this collaboration is an extension of InLiquid’s mission. Zimmerman founded the organization 20 years ago with the aim of creating a sustainable support ecosystem for Philadelphia’s visual artists. It does this by sponsoring exhibitions in galleries, offices, local businesses and public spaces across the city, by partnering with businesses and cultural organizations to raise awareness of local artists, and by encouraging the general public to buy and collect works of art.

One could call this collaboration with interior designers home staging in reverse. Many local interior designers and home stagers do work with local artists who provide some of their works as decor for staged houses in the hope that prospective buyers will like the art so much they buy it along with the house. Here, designers hope auction-goers will like the furniture so much they buy it along with the artwork. Participating designers include Marguerite Rodgers Interior Design and Soné Ehabe, founder and principal of 4Walls Interior Design.

“Everyone is a collector”…

It’s also in keeping with the theme of InLiquid’s 20th anniversary year, “Everyone is a Collector.” Zimmerman notes that the auction will include works of art valued as low as $50 and as high as $1000. And if you want more proof that art and real estate get along nicely, Brigit Brust and Jamie Gordon of Space & Company are serving as honorary chairs of this year’s benefit.

The weekend-long event begins with a VIP preview party on Friday, Jan. 31st, from 6 to 9 p.m. The main auction takes place on Saturday evening, Feb. 1st, from 6 to 10 p.m.

…including the kids

Prior to Saturday’s auction, InLiquid will host its first-ever “Family Day” from noon to 3 p.m. At this free public event, kids can participate in hands-on creative activities, their parents can peruse the works on display in the auction and exhibition galleries, and everyone can meet local artists up close and personal.

Those who can’t make the auction events can check out works still available at the pick-up party on Sunday, Feb. 2nd, from noon to 5 p.m.

All events take place at the Icebox Project Space at Crane Arts, 1400 N. American St. in South Kensington. InLiquid’s own gallery in the same building will also be open during the day on Friday and Saturday.

Tickets for the VIP preview are $85 in advance and $125 at the door; for the main event, they’re $50 in advance and $75 at the door. All proceeds support the free exhibitions and other programs and events InLiquid sponsors to promote local artists. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the InLiquid Benefit website.