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PHOTO CAPTION: Bid on over 100 works of art by nearly fifty regional artists. Photos courtesy of the artists and Ken Goldman.

Only days remain to bid on over 100 works by regional artists in the Portsmouth Historical Society’s “Jubilee” art auction that ends October 7 at 6pm. Half of the proceeds support Discover Portsmouth and the John Paul Jones House Museum while the other half goes directly to 50 contributing artists. The online exhibition offers a fantastic array of paintings, many featuring familiar scenes, plus handcrafted jewelry, sculpture, woodworking, and clothing. 

“It’s a triple win,” says executive director Brian LeMay. “Buyers take home a treasured original new work of art while supporting its talented creator and the city’s 100-year-old historical society.” 

This year’s fall auction lets bidders join in from home or office with a special online platform. BiddingForGood is a charitable e-commerce company designed to connect fundraisers, cause-conscious shoppers, and socially responsible businesses. Users are advised that a desktop or laptop computer is the best way to view the online gallery. 

Rachel Barnett, Cold Blue, spray paint, acrylic ink, watercolor, pastels, sheet music, and eye shadow.

Art lovers can reach the auction until October 7 via the PHS website ( and click through the entire gallery. Bidding instructions are included. Each item has an opening bid minimum, a description of the artwork, and added details about the artist. The auction software also features a “Buy Now” button for those who just can’t wait to own a favorite item.

“We’ve already had three exciting buy-out sales,” says development associate Joyce Tucker, who prepared the auction with Beth Jefferson and the 2020 Jubilee Committee. Tucker says the buy-out bidders purchased a beautiful pair of handcrafted silver and pearl earrings, an intricate piece of woven art entitled African Necklace, and a colorful woven cotton rug named Splash of Color. Tucker notes that buyers who wish to see specific works “up close and personal” may contact her at or by phone at 603-570-2492 for a private viewing at the Discover Portsmouth Welcome Center. 

William Taylor, Jewelry Box with Hummingbird, mahogany. Photo, Ken Goldman.

“Art, culture, and history define Portsmouth,” Brian LeMay says, “and this year both our artist community and our local nonprofits have been hit hard financially by the pandemic.” Since the opening of the Discover Portsmouth Welcome Center in 2010, PHS has featured fine art exhibitions by classic artists like Edmund C. Tarbell of Boston (who summered in New Castle) and Gertrude Fiske. Galleries in the historic 1810-era Academy Building have showcased scores of local artists, including special exhibitions by Jane Kaufman, Sumner Winebaum, John Stobart, Michael Stasiuk, Wendy Turner, Jay Goldsmith, and many more. 

This year’s hugely popular exhibition “Threads 2020” highlights an amazing array of contemporary and historical hand-sewn quilts in three galleries on two floors of Discover Portsmouth. Two giant “Community Quilts” created from swatches made by society fans during the ongoing pandemic have recently gone on display.

Oleg Kompasov, Sky Mirrors, oil painting. Photo, Ken Goldman.

Despite hard times and social distancing, welcome center visitors have been blown away by “Threads,” according to dedicated Discover Center staff and volunteers. The 2020 exhibition—including George Washington’s bedspread and a stunning 1876 Centennial Quilt loaned by New Hampshire resident and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns—continues through November 9. 

“It’s been a very tough year for corporate sponsorships, particularly from small, local businesses, which have traditionally been our bread-and-butter,” says exhibition manager Meredith Affleck. “That’s why our Jubilee auction, donations, new memberships, and museum shop sales are so important. Despite it all, we’re extremely proud of the work we’ve accomplished and the wonderful response from the community.”

Rose Umerlik, Orange Line, oil on graphite, 2019. Photo, Ken Goldman,

“The art of today becomes the exhibition inspiration for tomorrow,” says PHS development director Judy Loto. “Portsmouth simply would not be Portsmouth without its arts community. And this is a perfect chance to own a piece of it.”

“Threads:  A Community Quilt for 2020” is open at 10 Middle Street from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Fridays through Mondays. Admission is free. Masks are required and available free. For walking tour tickets, guided tours of the John Paul Jones House Museum, Society memberships, and the latest events and virtual lectures please visit or call 603-436-8433.