Jane Bunker and Mason Morfit.

Tampa Bay Talks: They’re raising thousands in scholarships for African American students via the Woodson Warriors art auction

David Warner, Jane Bunker and Mason Morfit. Photo: Rob Mason.

It’s among my favorite stories: the amazing crusade of artist Jane Bunker to raise scholarship funds for African American students in Pinellas through auction of her paintings, which to date has raised close to $125,000.

We talked with her first in 2019 at the inception of the Woodson Warriors Scholarship Fund, which she created in tandem with the Dr. G. Carter Woodson African American Museum, and did a follow-up last year when Covid caused a pause in plans for a second auction.

This week I got the chance to sit down with Jane and her husband, photographer Mason Morfit, to chat about the resumption of the auction in virtual form, culminating in a live event online on Sun. Mar. 14 from 5-6:30 p.m.

Artworks up for auction this year include 20 new paintings by Bunker, plus works by Mark Aeling, Steven Kenny, Brenda McMahon and Duncan McClellan and packages from hotels, theaters, sports teams and the Florida Orchestra. You can view all of the auction items (and bid on the silent auction) at woodsonmuseum.org, or see them in person at the museum by appointment or during Second Saturday Artwalk on Mar. 13 from 5-9 p.m. Registration for the auction and watching the live virtual program is free at woodsonwarriors.home.qtego.net.

It was great to go in depth about the auction with Jane and Mason — and also to learn more about the relationship they’ve been able to establish with the Warriors, who gave her a big surprise for her birthday. She talks about that approximately 7 minutes into the interview.

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