More than 140 local artists donated recent two-dimensional works for Fresh Paint, a University of Arizona Museum of Art fundraiser. Attendees at the 2011 event are shown.


More than 140 local artists and the 89-year-old University of Arizona Museum of Art are keeping it fresh with Fresh Paint, a fundraiser to benefit the museum's exhibitions and programs.

The biennial event will showcase "fresh" - or recent - original, two-dimensional works donated by local artists for a silent auction on March 16. The six pieces that receive the highest bids will be placed in a live auction later in the evening. A preview of the exhibition is free with museum admission from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 15.

"We have such a talented pool of artists here in Tucson and we received abstracts, representational works, photography, fine art, prints, drawings, watercolors, oils, paper - just everything you can think of in two-dimensional art," said Carol Petrozzello, the museum's marketing specialist.

"Many of the artists attend, and it is a wonderful opportunity for people to meet the artists and have a conversation with them about their paintings. They just love sharing that."

Judy Nakari, a plein-air and studio artist and former UAMA docent, can attest to that. Nakari donated a plein-air watercolor painted at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and an oil floral for past Fresh Paint auctions and will contribute a painting this year. A high point of the event is talking with fellow art lovers who are interested in her work, Nakari said.

"It is such a nice experience. People love to hear about the process of creating the paintings and I enjoy sharing. Plein-air is so much fun to talk with people about because it is often a scene that someone is familiar with: There is a commonality," she said.

Nakari, who teaches plein-air painting and watercolor portraits at The Drawing Studio, said it is also inspiring to meet the other artists and see the other work at the event.

"Artists are really generous people and are so willing to share their knowledge. I am always trying to grow as an artist and I love to talk with other artists about what they are doing," she said.

Nakari also gets inspiration from the UAMA, which she called "the best museum in town."

The museum has more than 6,000 pieces in its permanent collection, including ancient to modern European and American paintings, sculptures, prints, antiquities and other works of art.

Fundraisers such as Fresh Paint help promote awareness about the museum and its many treasures, which also include works by Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Rembrandt Van Rijin, Auguste Rodin, Maynard Dixon, Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder and Mark Rothko, Petrozzello said.

"People come to participate in the event and it may be their first time at the museum. When they see how extensive our collection is, they often decide it is worth visiting frequently," she said.


• What: Fresh Paint, a fundraiser for the University of Arizona Museum of Art.

• When: 6 to 9 p.m. March 16.

• Where: University of Arizona Museum of Art, 1031 N. Olive in the Fine Arts Complex in the northwest corner of the UA campus, across from the Center for Creative Photography. Free parking is available at the Park Avenue garage at the corner of Park Avenue and Speedway.

• Cost: $75 per person ($35 is tax-deductible).

• The details: Festivities include spirits, fare by Blue House Catering, Boca Tacos Y Tequila, Dakota Café and Catering, Lerua's Fine Mexican Foods, Pastiche Modern Eatery and Redington Catering and entertainment by the Gabriel Ayala Trio. An exhibition and silent auction of more than 140 works by local artists begins at 6 p.m. A live auction featuring the top six artworks from the silent auction will begin at 8 p.m. A preview of the exhibition is available with museum admission ($5 adults) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 15.

• Tickets: Go to or call Christine Aguilar at 621-5676.

Contact freelance writer Loni Nannini at