About Us

When you work with Artisan Auctions, you work with a team of committed, hard working, experienced and passionate professionals. We build upon each other’s strengths, and those of our clients and vendors, to deliver top-notch events. We’re the real deal: we’re just as passionate about the causes we work for as our clients.

Meet the Team

  • Kelly Russell
    Kelly Russell

    Kelly Russell is the face and force behind Artisan Auctions. She brings 10 years as a certified professional benefit auctioneer and positive energy to every room she works. A firm believer in good process and communication equates excellent outcome, she provides attention to detail and consultation from start to finish. Her team of experts rely on her keen direction, knowing that in the end, the work we do makes the world a better place thanks to the non-profit organizations we work for. Kelly works from a base of fundraising event experience, crafting auctions to meet and exceed client goals, and she has a great time doing it.

  • Alix Zimmermann
    Alix Zimmermann

    Alix loves doing her part to bring a little sunshine and cheer with her everywhere she goes. Originally from New York, this no-nonsense extravert has a special knack for making new connections feel like old cherished ones. Alix takes great pride in her decade-long involvement with the Rose City Rollers, a local non-profit focused on empowerment through sport and inclusion. She’s worn many hats for them; participating as a skater, coach, board member, emcee and announcer. Alix looks forward to keeping YOUR crowd on the edge of their seats!

  • Dale Johannes
    Dale Johannes

    Dale is delighted to be a part of Artisan Auctions, bringing a mountain of charisma and experience along with him. He has worked extensively as an actor for over 30 years — no wonder he’s excelled as a Master of Ceremonies for almost two decades as well! Dale has proudly worked in the field of HIV research and treatment for 24 years (and counting). He is the doting dad to two wonderful children and dearly devoted to the love of his life. Dale’s got charm to spare and a twinkle in his eye that is focused on making YOUR event one to remember.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much!”
– Helen Keller

When we talk team, we include our vast network of fundraising professionals with whom we collaborate. Together, we work seamlessly (and have a lot of fun), helping our clients pull off the best events possible. It’s our teamwork that helps clients ease the workload while garnering record-breaking results.

  • "We thought we were hiring an auctioneer. We were wrong. With Kelly we have a fundraising partner who consults and guides us on virtually all aspects of the event. She has brought the same high energy that makes her live auctioneering so successful to pre-event planning and brainstorming and the impact has been huge. She even follows up after then event to help detail what worked and what should have worked differently so that we can improve again next year."

    Dave Scarborough
    Dave Scarborough President, United Way of the Columbia Gorge
  • “We love having Kelly lead our brainstorming kick-off party for our annual auction! Kelly’s energy is contagious, and she does a great job of getting our committee off to a great start. She helps our volunteers generate new and interesting auction ideas, and gets them excited about the possibilities. Kelly’s extensive experience also helps direct the group into pursing auction items that really work. At the end of the party, Kelly encourages volunteers to take responsibility for procurement of the items they suggested, and gets them to work.”

    Laurel Keppy
    Laurel Keppy Development Director, Northwest Academy
  • “Kelly is confident, straight forward, and always delivers. She creates a warm, fun atmosphere by engaging the audience, and she embodies the passion of our mission in her delivery. During our planning for the event, she engaged with us strategically, because she always has our best interest in mind. She genuinely wants our event to be a success.”

    Amy Eaton
    Amy Eaton Executive Director, Living Yoga
  • “Kelly Russell Artisan Auctions is a pleasure to work with and her professionalism, enthusiasm, and experience added a great deal to the fun and success of our event. Every comment about her work in our post-auction survey was positive!”

    Tom Swearingen
    Tom Swearingen Fostering Hope Benefit Co-Chair, East Portland Rotary
  • “We knew we needed a professional auctioneer to achieve our fundraising goals. Kelly’s advice and guidance made all the difference. She was easy to work with, brought invaluable advice to maximize our fundraising success, and took command of the event floor to make that success happen, all the while making the experience easy for us and a great time for our guests.”

    Travis Phillips
    Travis Phillips Director of Housing and Development, Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives Inc.
  • "Hiring Artisan Auctions was one of the first things I recommended when I joined Bradley Angle. As fundraisers, we do a lot of work to make sure that our donors come to our events ready to give. But we all need on-stage partners to help us bring those gifts home. Kelly Russell and her team make sure my guests leave having spent a little more money than they intended to and feeling great about supporting survivors of domestic violence as they take back control of their lives. I couldn't ask for more."

    Rebecca Alexander
    Rebecca Alexander Director of Development & Communications, Bradley Angle
  • Do you want an enthusiastic and trustworthy fundraising partner for your next auction? Kelly Russell is your woman!

    I've had the pleasure of hiring Kelly several years running for PHAME's signature "Sparkle!" gala, and she always goes above and beyond in the pre-event consulting and advising work, [as well] the night of event execution. I trust her completely to handle a huge event that accounts for 40% of our annual operating revenue, with an endless list of details and complications that she handles effortlessly with a seemingly unlimited reserve of goodwill AND good fun!

    We raise more money with Kelly as our event auctioneer -- period.

    Stephen Marc Beaudoin
    Stephen Marc Beaudoin Executive Director, PHAME Academy
  • In our 23rd year of hosting one of the premiere fundraising events in Greater Lafayette, we were fortunate to discover Kelly Russell and Artisan Auctions. We knew we needed to make several modifications to the event, but did not have the internal experience to know the best direction. Kelly walked our team through an entire revamp of the event. It took patience and convincing on her part, but our team took the leap of faith, and adopted Kelly's plan.

    Fortunately for our school system we did! The 23rd Blue Knight Auction was a complete success! We spent less time purchasing items and more time focused on our mission and donors. Our appeal, which had started to decrease, was the largest ever. Guests who had attended for years said it was the best one ever! It was an exciting evening and we look forward to growing upon the success next year. We asked Kelly back before she even left the building.

    Matt C. Buche
    Matt C. Buche Director of Advancement, Lafayette Catholic School System

Let’s work together to make your auction a masterpiece.