Beauty and the box

Humble boxes turn into moneymakers for PlacerArts
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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In perspective, a humble spruce box wrapped in a brassiere fitted in quite nicely Friday during the Outside the Box auction on Downtown Auburn’s Lincoln Way. Using oils, acrylics, fabric paint, a bra and a box, Auburn artist Paula Di Leo’s “Peek-A-Boob” characterized the chance to explore and stretch creative boundaries. Di Leo joined many of the best the county’s artistic community has to offer in creating Outside the Box pieces that not only served as foundations for self-expression but also raised money for the non-profit PlacerArts. More than 80 artists took part and their pieces were auctioned off Friday, bringing the arts organization more than $13,000. The exhibit itself will continue through May 29 at the Arts Building Gallery, 808 Lincoln Way. “Some things just pop into your head,” Di Leo said. “It’s a nice change and this exhibit shows the many ways artists can express themselves.” An estimated 250 people attended the auction. Susan Dupre, PlacerArts board chairman, said she and Auburn resident Joanne Neft saw a similar show at a Point Reyes gallery this summer. “We just looked at each other and said we could do this,” Dupre said. “To me it shows a gracious willingness from artists and other people to take some time to be creative on behalf of PlacerArts – and it shows the high levels of creativity we have here.” The highest bid for a single piece turned out to be one of the hits of the show – a large, abstract mural made of “tiles” that were actually pizza boxes. The work, which sold for $750, was created by Renee Nevarez’ fourth-grade class at Forest Lake Christian School, with help from art instructor Tracie Owens. Dupre said the PlacerArts organization is envisioning a similar event and exhibition next year. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at