The Friends of the Arts’ Postcard Art auction raised $13,000 for a grant program that supports College of Fine Arts student projects.

The biggest single moneymaker was a postcard-size painting by Illinois State University Art Professor Emeritus James Butler that drew a $900 bid. Friends of the Arts sold 95 tickets to the sixth annual event, which was held April 27 at University Galleries and attracted about 25 walk-up attendees.

“We were very pleased with that,” said John Walker, executive associate dean of the College of Fine Arts. Revenue for this year’s event was down from last year, when the auction raised an event-record $19,000, but was in-line with the years before that, Walker said.

The auction’s biggest sponsor this year was the Sam Leman Automotive Group, whose donation helped cover fundraising expenses.

Ninety artists submitted 253 pieces for the show, which restricts artists to making works no larger than 4 inches by 6 inches. While many of the artists are Illinois State University alums, students, or faculty members, the event did attract artists with no connection to the University, including the work of a Toronto artist.

“Some people are just finding us,” Walker said. “This event does a lot for artists.”

Popular works included pieces by Chicago sculptor Lou Cella ’85 and by part-time artists like Deana Moore, a local nurse whose painting of a cupcake caught attendees’ attention, Walker said.

“She is someone who loves to paint,” he said.

Money raised at the event helps fund a Friends of the Arts grant program that provided $15,000 last school year to undergraduate and graduate students. The grants supported graduate and undergraduate glass art shows, helped a music education major buy ukuleles for children with behavioral disorders, and assisted School of Theatre students with a production that was performed at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Friends of the Arts also offers $30,000 in annual scholarships to College of Fine Arts students through a program funded by membership dues.

Friends of the Arts’ next major fundraiser will be a wine and food gala set for October 10 at The Fresh Market. More information on the gala will be forthcoming but plans call for a similar event to one held last year.

Kevin Bersett can be reached