Arts Umbrella’s Splash Auction, Oct. 21, Vancouver
A record $1.8-million was raised at the 41st edition of Splash, the most important annual fundraiser for Arts Umbrella, the Vancouver-based non-profit organization which is dedicated to providing arts education for young people. Some 600 guests were in attendance for the gala evening held at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, which began with cocktails and a last-minute viewing of the more than 90 donated works of art by names including Rebecca Belmore, the late Garry Neill Kennedy and Colleen Heslin, which would be auctioned for the cause. Later on, during dinner, a pair of big announcements were made, firstly that Michael Audain and his wife Yoshiko Karasawa, both in attendance, had made a recent $2-million gift from the Audain Foundation to be permanently endowed in the Arts Umbrella Foundation. Later, beloved Arts Umbrella supporters and Splash co-chairs for the seventh consecutive year, Christie Garofalo, a social and fundraising powerhouse in Vancouver, and my host for the evening, art and culture mover Bruce Munro Wright, revealed that they will continue as co-chairs of the annual art auction for an additional three years. As dinner came to a close, the ballroom swiftly transitioned into an auction house, with substantial works going under the gavel of artist and curator-cum-auctioneer Hank Bull. Up on stage under bright lights to tempt guests were 31 live lots, among them an aluminum-wrapped work by James (Nexw’Kalus-Xwalacktun) Harry and Lauren Brevner, a Wanda Koop, a Douglas Coupland surfboard and a big stirring work by Stan Douglas. There in the room bidding and taking in the spectacle were Arts Umbrella supporters including; Nicola Wealth president and Arts Umbrella Foundation chair David Sung and Nicola Wealth chairman & CEO John Nicola; Splash Toronto committee member Steven Wilson and his partner Michael Simmonds, who served on the Calgary committee; Arts Umbrella co-founder and honorary chair Carol Henriquez; model agent and arts supporter Kelly Streit, who orchestrated a Holt Renfrew fashion show that anchored the after party; gallerists including Monte Clark and Monica Reyes; and of course Paul Larocque, president & CEO of Arts Umbrella.
Casey House’s Art With Heart, Oct. 3, Toronto
A couple of weeks earlier in Toronto, the Carlu was the locale for the 30th anniversary of Art With Heart, the annual auction which supports Casey House, a specialty hospital in Toronto which cares for people who are living with or are at risk of HIV. North of $1-million was raised by night’s end, funds that will support inpatient and outpatient care as well as important advocacy efforts. TD Bank Group returned as the key sponsor and event committee members including Sara Angel, Nathan Eugene Carson and Steven Rapkin were all out, as were curatorial committee co-chairs Dan Menchions, Raoul Olou and Spencer Shevlen, and of course Casey House CEO Joanne Simons.