For the Love of Bicycles: Preparing for BICAS’s Twentieth Annual Art Auction
November 6, 2015
By Kai Parmenter
Tucson has long been a haven for bicyclists of all kinds, including road cyclists, mountain bikers and everything in between. Indeed, the greater metropolitan area is home to a truly impressive array of on and off-road trails. This integration of cycling into Tucson’s vibrant culture in recent decades owes much to a nonprofit organization called BICAS, short for Bicycle Inter-Community Art and Salvage.
First established in 1989, BICAS has sought to educate Tucsonans on repair and maintenance of bicycles, while providing services to youth and the less fortunate of our city’s inhabitants. Yet bicycling in Tucson is more than simply a pastime—rather, it fosters community and preservation of our environment, while providing a means of transportation for many Tucsonans—all facts BICAS is keenly aware of, and hopes to showcase in their upcoming art auction, to be held in early December.
The BICAS Art Auction will be their twentieth, “a silent auction, although it’s far from quiet,” notes Troy Neiman, Shop Coordinator for BICAS. “We have music…Dragoon [Brewing Company] is going to be brewing a beer special for the art auction and as a fundraiser for BICAS.”
This year’s auction will take place on December 4th and 5th at The Art Gallery, 1122 North Stone Avenue, directly across from Pima Community College’s Downtown Campus. The first night will be a preview party, featuring live music, beverages (including Dragoon’s special BICAS Brown ale), and most importantly, attendees will be able to check out all artwork on display.
“The second night is the auction itself,” says Neiman, with bidding proceeding throughout the evening. “Once the bid is called, people can take their artwork home that night.”
As far as donations for the auction are concerned, BICAS is open to most anything, yet emphasizes pieces with some connection to bicycles or the culture of cycling.
“Raffle items are great. As far as the artwork goes, we ask that it’s bicycle-related in some form,” says Neiman. Many of the pieces in the auction come from BICAS staff and volunteers, who assemble items from spare bicycle parts, including “art pieces, sculptures, functional items, table and lamps, jewelry…really anything. Generally, we have between two and three hundred unique [submissions].”
BICAS, officially named Bootstraps to Share, started as “an all-encompassing organization dedicated to helping [the] homeless in any way possible,” says Neiman.
“There really wasn’t anybody focused on the transportation issue [at the time],” which led Bootstraps to place more emphasis on the bicycle, specifically the do-it-yourself aspect of bicycle repair and maintenance, while helping individuals acquire sustainable transportation.
The focus of Bootstraps grew to include Tucson’s youth in 1994, the same year Kim Young became involved. Young, often credited as the founder of BICAS, helped establish a youth component, which preceded the contemporary iteration of BICAS as a resource for all of the Tucson community.
In accordance with the rise of public awareness, the organization began informally using the name BICAS in early 1996.
“This is our twenty-sixth year of operation,” says Neiman, who’s himself been with BICAS for eleven years.
BICAS is accepting submissions for their art auction through November twenty-eighth, with a preference for ready-to-display artwork or items. All proceeds from the event go directly to BICAS, helping them to continue their mission of providing Tucsonans with services and education devoted to the joys of bicycling.