Art lovers have the unique opportunity on Saturday, May 19, to help preserve a beloved event at a cultural landmark by purchasing artwork from respected regional artists.

For more than 28 years the Trenton City Museum’s marquee annual event has been the Ellarslie Open, a major exhibit held each spring. In 2011, for example, the museum displayed a retrospective of Lambertville-based artist Paul Matthews’ work (U.S. 1, March 16, 2011).

The story changed in 2012, however, when the event was canceled because the museum’s director was laid off. The Trenton Museum Society then hired Bob Sands as interim director and is now hosting the Save the Ellarslie Open fundraiser to support the hiring of a permanent part-time director. (For information about the position visit http://ellarslie.org/about/news/tms_director.htm)

On May 19, a gala a live auction will be held featuring the works of nearly 30 artists. Mercer County Freeholder Sam Frisby will be the guest auctioneer. Other artwork will be part of a silent auction.

Among the artists whose work will be auctioned off are Al Aronson, Gail Bracegirdle, Tom Chesar, Jeanne Chesterton, Brendon Connors, Susanne Pitak Davis, Morris Docktor, Natalie Featherston, Kate Graves, Bill Hogan, Tom Kelly, Mary Leck, Ron LeMahieu, Paul Matthews, Pearl Mintzer, Timothy Parris, Janet Purcell, Louis Russomanno, Robert Sakson, Steve Smith, Marie Sturken, Susan Winter, Idaherma Williams, and Gloria Wiernik.

And take note: the Ellarslie, with or without the gala, is worth a visit. The mansion, part of the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, was built as a residence in 1848 and has served as a museum since 1978. It is located within 100-acre Cadwalader Park, which was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted –– best known for designing NewYork City’s Central Park.

Save the Ellarslie Open Gala and Live Art Auction, Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion, Cadwalader Park, Trenton. Saturday, May 19, 7 to 10 p.m. Gala and live art auction to purchase fine art from regional artists while helping to put the museum back on track. Cocktails, wine, hors d’oeuvres by Chambers Walk, and silent auction. Black tie optional. $125; $200 per couple. 609-989-1191 or www.ellarslie.org.

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