On February 24, Spoleto Festival USA will host its Annual Auction, benefiting the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra. But just because it’s the 39th fête doesn’t mean there won’t be a few new twists to what’s often considered the kickoff to Charleston’s social season.

For one, local singer/songwriter McKenzie Eddy (with keyboardist Elliot Smith) will provide smooth, soulful vocals as an elegant backdrop to the festivities, which begin with a reception in The Cedar Room of the Cigar Factory. After enjoying bespoke cocktails and small bites amidst an art display fit for a gallery, guests will be invited to sit for dinner, then take part in an auction for the chance to bid on some pretty phenomenal pieces.

This year, top items up for grabs at the live event include a post-Festival-performance meet-and-greet with bluegrass band Della Mae, exciting getaways, an exclusive dinner for 12 with award-winning chef Mike Lata, jewelry designed by Elizabeth Locke, and two gorgeous pieces by acclaimed artists Anne Darby Parker and Carl Blair.

Auction Art Collage

A selection of art available in this year’s silent and live auctions (clockwise, from top left): Lizzie Gill’s Crown Jewels; John Acorn’s Capture; Rhett Thurman’s Incandescence; Kate Hooray Osmond’s Conroy; Anne Darby Parker’s Gathering of Joy (available only through the live auction); and Neutral Graphite 3 by Mallory Page 

Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, one of the country’s most prestigious ensembles for young musicians, and guests may also bid to sponsor individual members for their residency during the 2017 season. Each year, Spoleto Festival USA Resident Conductor and Director of Orchestral Activities John Kennedy auditions hundreds of candidates and handpicks each artist to perform during the Festival’s wide range of operatic and orchestral programs—like Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Mozart’s Great Mass, contemporary Icelandic composer Anna Thorsvaldottir’s Dreaming, and the special Spoleto Celebration Concert on May 30, among many others.

Can’t make it to the event on the 24th but don’t want to miss out? A silent auction will run online at spoletoauction.com from February 20 to March 5. And prior to the Annual Auction, a selection of the available artwork will be on display in the gallery of luxury home and design collective Fritz Porter beginning February 16. The public is welcome to join us for a preview party from 6:00pm to 8:00pm on the 16th to highlight the pieces to be part of the live and silent auctions. The work will remain on view at Fritz Porter through February 24.

Ready to bid? Annual Auction tickets and online auction details are available HERE.