Almost $60,000 was raised during the second annual Art for Life Auction to benefit AIDS research and education programs _ three times last year's total.
Event organizers had hoped to raise only $40,000. About 1,200 people attended the event on Sept. 26, well above an anticipated turnout of 600.
"It was phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal," chairman Victor Figueredo said. "To triple our earnings and quadruple our attendance is amazing."
The auction raised $20,000 last year, and was attended by 300 people.
The money raised will go to the Tampa AIDS Network, which will use the money to help pay costs not covered by grants.
The network's Executive Director Chuck Kuehn said he thought more money was raised because more people knew about the auction.
"There were a lot of new faces at the event, which means more people are getting involved or have been touched by the issue," Kuehn said.
The money will go toward $250,000 that Kuehn said the AIDS network must raise to pay for activities such as a food bank, information resource line and the Women's AIDS Resource Movement.
Figueredo said 230 pieces were sold at auction, as bidding for individual art pieces went higher than a year ago.
An oil painting by Patsi Aguero called Spiritual Awakenings, which was also used as the official event poster,received the highest bid: $2,400.
Several pieces also were sold to bidders in the $700 range.
Lorraine Genovar's black and white photo The Beastmasters sold for $775.
Duncan McClellan's blown glass work Homage to Alpo, Lynn Ash's oil painting The Cellist, and Michael D'Andrea's grandfather clock sold for $725 each.
Michael Vollbracht's artist proof Marilyn sold for $700.
A limited edition of 500 signed and numbered posters of Aguero's work were $20 each.
Figueredo said some posters are still available. A second run of auction T-shirts will also be available for $15 each. Both can be picked up at TAN. For information, call 978-8683.
A dozen restaurants contributed food.
Figueredo said the success of the art auction has prompted him to set higher goals for next year's fund-raiser.
"I want over 2,000 people, and I want to raise $100,000," Figueredo said. "I don't think my goal is out of reach."