Beta Sigma Phi to host dessert, art auction

Money raised will go toward group's service project at kidney dialysis center

Posted: Thursday, September 16, 2004

Beta Sigma Phi, an international women's community service organization, is hosting a dessert and art auction from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at Glacier Gardens for the group's service project at the Reifenstein Kidney Dialysis Center.

The nonacademic sorority has solicited more than 100 artists and friends to donate artwork to be displayed in the center or auctioned.

The dialysis center opened in May in the Mendenhall Mall and its walls are mostly blank. The main patient room has 12-foot-ceilings and two 30-foot-long walls. A conference room, an examination room and an isolation room are also blank.

All money raised will go back into the project, to help Beta Sigma Phi donate blankets to the center and help mat and frame the art for the walls.

They received 25 items that will be displayed at the center, and 49 additional items (pieces that weren't suitable for the center or that didn't match the decor) that will be auctioned. The deadline was Sept. 1.

Twenty-eight dessert items will also be auctioned. The auction is free and open to the public.

Beta Sigma Phi is not affiliated with any college, and has roughly 200,000 members worldwide. The group has approximately 40 members in Juneau. They range from 35 to 80 years old.

"To me, it's a personal project," said Susan Krogstad, co-chairman of the project. "Before, people had to move. Now we have this facility."

Several of its local members have a close tie to the center. Krogstad's mother was on kidney dialysis for three years before she died. It was severe enough that she had to move to Michigan for treatment. There was simply no place in town to receive treatment in Juneau.

"As you walk through the place, there's absolutely nothing on the walls," she said. "We wanted to provide some atmosphere to make it a little more friendly for the patients. They sit there for six to eight hours, three times a week. They do have televisions but there's nothing to look at but blank white walls."

Sigma Phi started its project by providing the center with blankets for patients. Then they decided to look for Southeast-inspired artwork for the walls.

The first donation was also the most expensive. Rick Beasley and Preston Singletary made "Circle of Love," a handblown, red glass circle, 24 inches in diameter, with a black Chilkat design in the center. It's valued at $2,200.

"Some of the artists pushed to have their item in the center," Krogstad said. "We went with pieces that would complement each other. We wanted to include art from Southeast Alaska and art from all different cultures."

Juneau artist Forest Hembree donated a print called "Buoy Tenders," of a group of seals sitting on a buoy in the middle of the ocean. He wanted the piece to be in the auction, but the members of Beta Sigma Phi decided to buy another print of the work for the center.

Traeger Machetanz has donated four limited-edition prints by his father, Fred. The auction also includes a 1984 Rie Muñoz poster, worth $165.

Other artists include: Heidi Reifenstein, JoAnn George, Karen Beason, Detlef Buettner, Brenda Schwartz, Donna Catotti, Stephanie Hall, Michelle Morrell and Phyllice Bradner.

Beta Sigma Phi is hoping to have all the art in the center by Nov. 15. The dialysis center is not a public place, so this may be one of the only opportunities to see the art that will hang on its walls.

• Korry Keeker can be reached at

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