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Once again, Nimbus Arts has awed, thrilled and inspired St. Helenans with its 10th annual "arty party" fundraiser, Nimbash.

Held on May 18, the rain-soaked gala attracted 410 guests along with more than 60 volunteers and 45 fashionistas. The event raised over $650,000 – a nearly 50 percent increase over last year’s proceeds.

Despite the downpour, arriving guests gamely explored the outdoor site featuring food and wine tastings from local purveyors, displays of silent auction lots and a variety of interactive art activities led by Nimbus Arts’ teaching artists.

“The rain was a huge ordeal,” said Nimbus founder Dana Johnson, “but it didn’t matter. Everyone had great spirits and enthusiasm.”

Two hours later, guests gathered into the tented dining hall for a home-style meal, followed by an unfailingly innovative fashion show and a live auction.

“It’s my favorite party every year,” said one guest, and her companion added, “It’s the most exciting and fun event in Napa Valley.” Both wished to remain anonymous.

According to Nimbus Arts Executive Director Jamie Graff, the tickets sold out in mere hours, leaving the staff scrambling to add tables to include their recurring donors, sponsors and art patrons.

“Nimbash is so much more than a fundraiser,” said Graff. “We’re providing a unique art experience for people." And most importantly for her, “It’s a way of fulfilling our mission and goal.”

The Nimbus Arts mission: To give the Napa Valley community access to art with enriching and creative educational art experiences while supporting local artists.

Unlike most other charity fundraisers, Nimbus hires most of the artists who work the event and pays for the art installation and labor.

Most impressively, the artists who provide art for auctioning are paid commissions.

“Nimbash is a way to demonstrate what we do every day,” said Johnson.

Cary Shott is a St. Helena freelance writer.

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