These six 12X12 pieces are available in this year's scholarship fundraiser/sale benefitting the SFA School of Art. Silent bidding begins July 5 at The Cole Art Center, and the show closes with the art party and sale at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 20.

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - The bidding will soon begin on the annual 12X12 fundraiser sponsored by the SFA Friends of the Visual Arts to raise scholarship funds for students enrolled in the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art.

Two weeks of silent bidding on the donated artwork will conclude with the annual party and sale at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 20, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

The 12-inch-by-12-inch panels of artwork created by approximately 70 artists from Nacogdoches, Lufkin and other areas of East Texas will be on display beginning Friday, July 5, in The Cole Art Center. Bidding will begin that night, which is also the same night as the Friends of the Visual Arts' free screening of the film "Ride The Divide" at Cole Art Center.

Chairman of this year's 12X12 fundraiser is FVA member Jean Stephens, who says that ensuring that a fundraiser like this is a success takes the participation of all members.

"The FVA is a fantastic working group," Stephens said. "We are committed to helping SFA art students with scholarships and grants for tuition and art projects and with funding to attend art related conferences and workshops. In the past 12 months, we have awarded more than $11,000 in financial assistance to students."

Last year, the FVA awarded a total of $6,100 in Friendship Grants to 30 students to help offset travel costs for them to attend conferences or school trips; the awards ranged from $200 to $400 per student. The grants were awarded to help defray the costs of special projects for their art classes or MBA/BA exhibition or to attend conference or school trips that will help with their professional careers, such as Maymester trips for photography students to go to Big Bend and ad design students to go to Boston. The FVA also awarded $4,500 in scholarships to five students enrolling or enrolled in the School of Art for the upcoming fall semester. This summer, the organization will award $600 to cover the tuition cost for four students to attend the SFA Art Academy.

Many of the 12X12 participating artists donate their artwork year after year to help in the fundraising efforts, Stephens said.

"Through the years, we have compiled a master artist list of people who have contributed to our fundraising by donating their artwork," she said. "Early in the year, we sent an email inviting these people to participate. We are always happy to add new people to our list."

The artists do not sign the front of their work so no one knows who created which piece. The opening bid is $250. At the July 20 party and sale, each 12X12 artwork not bid on (and this is the vast majority of the work, Stephens said) will be sold for $100.

"The sale is first-come, first-serve basis beginning at 6 p.m.," Stephens said. "Raffle tickets are sold for $5 each or $20 for five tickets, and any unsold work will be raffled off beginning at 7:05. For a $5 investment, you have a chance to have a wonderful work of art. The show comes down as people take home their purchased art."

The Friends of the Visual Arts is always looking for people in the community who would like to help with the group's efforts, Stephens said.

"The 12X12 event would be a great time to visit The Cole Art Center and see we what we do," she said. "Through this event we offer affordable art to the people of the Nacogdoches area and a fun evening enjoying The Cole Art Center."

For more information, call The Cole Art Center at (936) 468-6557.