Children’s Art Auctions Provide Crucial Support for ABFFE

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The online and live auctions of children’s book art held in conjunction with this year’s BookExpo America were a great success, reported Chris Finan, president of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE). Income from the events, co-sponsored by the ABC Children’s Group at ABA and ABFFE, increased by 50 percent over the previous year’s auction results. Proceeds from the auctions will support ABFFE’s defense of the free speech rights of young readers.

Strong support from artists, the addition of an online auction the week before BEA, and the relocation of the auction within the Jacob Javits Convention Center were major reasons for this year’s success. “We received more than 250 donations, and the quality of the art was just amazing,” Finan said. “We are also very pleased to have discovered the River Pavilion, which provides a beautiful setting for the art.” The room, which overlooks the Hudson River, had not been available in years past.

One of the key features of the Javits auction was a tribute to Maurice Sendak. A dozen artists created Sendak-themed works or donated pieces to honor him. An original Sendak sketch was sold for $2,700 during a live auction led by the event’s honorary co-chairs, Jack Gantos and Lauren Myracle.

Kristen Gilligan Vlahos, the auction manager, and Inessa Spencer of the ABFFE staff also played key roles in the success of the auction.