The ‘Re’ Project and The Story of a Silent Auction Donation
Last fall I started to work on what I am calling my ‘Re’ series. You may ask, what is my ‘Re’ series. I’ve always been fascinated with trying to use things that might other wise be discarded and of course that opens the door to using processes that ‘Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose, Reclaim, Reprocess, Restore, Rescue, Relove, Recondition, Remodel, Regenerate’. Of course if you are not a purist you could add words like ‘Salvage, Upcycle, Convert …’.
The first of my babies left the nest recently. #4 of the ‘Re’ series featured a piece of ‘fabric’ created from re-cycled plastic shopping bags, paint, thread, buttons and wool cording from a sweater. When mounted on 300 lb. watercolor paper and enclosed in a frame, I was really pleased with the result. Just the encouragement I needed to get back to work on the series.
Last winter was not very ‘arty’ for me and of course the events of the last six months made it difficult to work on this series but I’ve recently returned to work on it. A few pieces were already mounted and just required framing to look their best. My son caught me in a weak moment and has just taken #4 of the series to Kingston ON as a donation for a silent auction. The auction is to support students from a class at St. Lawrence College who will be heading to Africa for first-hand experience in a community aid project.
Over the years I’ve become a little gun-shy when it comes to making art donations to silent auctions and other fundraisers. The value gained by the sponsoring group is usually far less than the market value of the item donated. However, I recently had an interesting thing happen. About fifteen years ago I donated a painting to a silent auction held in western Ontario and sponsored by a group that I strongly believe in. It sold for about two-thirds of the sale price I would have placed on it but it went ‘to a good home’.
A couple of years ago someone asked me about the painting I had donated to a silent auction at yet another totally unrelated fundraiser. This time the locale was four hundred miles away from the original auction. As I had not donated to this fundraiser, I inquired further and was intrigued to discover that the painting donated to the first auction had reappeared years later at the second auction and sold for three times the value obtained at the first fundraiser. My gift was continuing to give! In the intervening years it was no doubt enjoyed by the original owner. It’s not always about revenue to the artist. In both cases I felt good about being able to ‘make a donation’ to a cause, even if I didn’t choose the cause in the second instance!