Family portraits are Michelle Ricci-Koch’s passion.
“My mom passed away when I was 16 and I have very few pictures of her, much less photos of us together,” explained Ricci-Koch, who has lived in Clovis for more than 30 years.
Six years ago, she opened Michele Michaels Photography in her home (she has since moved the studio to downtown Fresno) and worked to encourage families — mothers, especially — to take portraits with their kids.
“Many moms say they’ll do it later, ‘when I lose 20 pounds,’ or this or that, but I tell them ‘We’ll stick a kid on top of you; no one is going to notice your extra 20 pounds,’ ” Ricci-Koch said. “Their kids are going to cherish those pictures. That’s what I try to get across to women: your kids don’t care what you look like.”
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While taking portraits annually for one local family, Ricci-Koch was inspired to flex her more artistic side when she discovered one of the children was set to attend a ballet academy in New York City over the summer, Ricci-Koch said.
“Tabby, I think, was 14,” she said. “I love when I get to have creative reign and do my own artwork. I got some absolutely wonderful images from the shoot.”
One image, which is titled, “Ballerina,” but Ricci-Koch refers to as simply, “Tabby,” will be featured along with prints from more than 50 other artists at Spectrum Art Gallery’s Annual Print Auction, Gala and Costume Contest beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30.
Fresno Art Museum at 2233 N. First St. will host the event, which is the nonprofit gallery’s largest fundraiser of the year.
The reception will include food, refreshments and live music before the first of two streamlined, live auctions begins promptly at 5 p.m. A silent auction will be held in between the live auctions. The second auction will begin at 7 p.m.
“The auction features not only members, but also outside artists that donate,” Ricci-Koch said. “It’s wonderful to see work that we only read about.”
Auction prints will be on exhibit through Saturday at Spectrum Art Gallery, 608 E. Olive Ave., Fresno. Hours are 12:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday, 12:30 to 8 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
This year a costume contest has been added to the event, with a special prize for the best costume of the evening.
The cost of admission is $10 per bidder plus a guest and may be purchased prior to the event at the Spectrum Art Gallery, 608 E. Olive Ave., Fresno.
Spectrum Art Gallery Annual Auction, Gala and Costume Contest
When: 4 p.m. reception, 5 p.m. auction Sunday, Oct. 30
Where: Fresno Art Museum, 2233 N. First St., Fresno
How much: $10 per bidder plus a guest
Details: www.spectrumphotogallery.org, (559) 266-0691