Celebrity Interaction

As reported in the Fort Myers News-Press:

On August 23, 2003, Meryl Streep served as auctioneer to help sell artwork to benefit survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.  She took the stage before a crowd of about 1,500 at Harborside Event Center Saturday for the black-tie benefit for Arts for ACT, the annual auction for Abuse Counseling and Treatment. “I don’t want you to stand up.  I want you to raise your hands all night long,” Meryl said, urging the audience to bid on the 76 pieces featured in the voice auction.

Among the artists in that category was her husband, sculptor Don Gummer, whose work is sold through Eckert Fine Art-Naples.  “I’m going to try and do two things: sell a lot of art and try not to embarrass him,” she said.  Some of the first winning bids were more modest – $200 and $300 – but auctioneer Scott Robertson quickened the pace, leading bidders through a rapid-fire succession of numbers.

At one point, Streep offered to shake the winning bidder’s hand if the sales price on a piece was at least $500.  On the laser print “Jarros,” Streep sweetened the pot.  “Maybe a kiss. Maybe a French kiss,” she told the crowd.  The bids jumped until the gavel finally fell at $3,500.  Streep was good on her word, delivering an appreciative kiss to the buyer.

By the time the auction was over, the group raised $296,795.  Including the sale of tickets and silent auction works, the fundraiser exceeded its $400,000 mark, said ACT’s executive director Jennifer Benton.