Conscious party: Arthur Morgan School’s annual auction

LIVE AND LEARN: For students at Arthur Morgan School, classroom lessons come alongside immersive educational trips, multiday backpacking excursions and other hands-on learning experiences. The school's annual auction funds scholarships that reduce most students' tuition burden. Photo courtesy of AMS

WHAT: A live and silent auction to fund Arthur Morgan School scholarships

WHERE: Burnsville Town Center

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 18, 6-9:30 p.m.

WHY: Academics are just one priority at Arthur Morgan School, where nearly 30 students in grades seven to nine also help with daily chores, build structures like outdoor classrooms and barns, present proposals for school improvements and grow food that’s served on the residential campus.

“Everyone is responsible for pitching in for the running and maintenance of the school,” says its development coordinator, Heather Dawes. “It very much is a living learning community. That’s our tagline.”

That participatory spirit, she adds, is what sets the farm school’s auction apart from other fundraisers. Not only do students provide handmade creations like ceramics, fiber and paper arts and knitted goods — including the gauntlet-style fingerless gloves that are trending among the school’s knitters — but they also divide into five labor crews that are live-auctioned. Winning bidders get help on a project come April.

“We spend six hours working, and most groups have seven people. So it’s a huge amount of work that we can get done,” Dawes says. “[The crews] have to come up with themes and theme music, costumes and skits, and they do this performance before they get auctioned. It’s hilarious.”

Returning auctioneer Jeff Goodman, too, riles the crowd, according to Dawes. Plus, a local jazz group led by Bob Early will play during the silent auction, which includes myriad donations from area artists and businesses. Students will also staff a handmade market, selling their smallest crafts at set prices.

In past years, the affair has raised almost $30,000 for need-based scholarships, and “It’s my dream to get over that,” Dawes says.

Admission tickets cost $25/$35 and include hors d’oeurves (made with AMS’ produce), wine and dessert. For more information, visit


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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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