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Nothing could be more appropriate. Auction items at Burchfield-Penney Art Center's benefit gala Sept. 16 in Shea's Performing Arts Center will feature many forms of artwork by Western New Yorkers.

Starting with a silent auction and cocktails at 6:30 p.m., there will be piano music by David Kane. Dinner at 8 will precede dessert and a live auction at 9, with Cash Cunningham as the auctioneer.

David Flynn, a partner in Phillips, Lytle, Hitchcock, Blaine & Huber, and Paul Michaels, owner of Aurum Jewelers, are chairmen of the formal party. They are members of the art center's council, the gala's sponsor.

The gala is the center's major fund-raiser of the year to benefit museum programs and its education and outreach efforts. This year's goal is $50,000.

Outstanding among the auction offerings is the watercolor painting of Shea's exterior, titled "Center Stage," that was done this year by Rita Argen Auerbach.

It is 21 1/2 by 14 1/4 inches and was reproduced in black-and-white for the invitation cover, just as a preview to gala-goers of what's in store for them.

Also to be offered -- this is a first -- is a watercolor by Patrick Fagan, president and chief executive officer of Shea's, who studies with Mrs. Auerbach.

There will be gold-lustered ceramic vessels by Gail McCarthy and a door with stained glass accents from Pella Window Store. Among the many jewelry items are a 14-karat gold and salmon-color tourmaline pin by John Jauquet.

There also will be sculptures, drawings, sketches and craft art, as well as gift certificates for fine dining, pampering services and entertainment. Each item has been approved by the Burchfield-Penney's curatorial department.

Guests may enjoy such hors d'oeuvres as corn-chive blinis with caviar, California roll with ponzu sauce, smoked trout canapes and duck breast on wonton with sesame hoisin and scallions.

A salad of autumn greens with Roquefort croutons and walnuts will be served before the entree of filet mignon with wild mushroom demi-glace, sauteed, locally grown green beans and ratatouille risotto.

Belgian chocolate sauce will top the chocolate-peanut butter semi-fredo for dessert, when the live auction will begin. Dinner is being catered by Oliver's.

Dining tables are for eight and corporate tables are available. Patron tickets are $150 and individual tickets are $125. Reservations are being taken at the art center's development office, 878-4077.

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