Artists come together to host auction to benefit the Blyth Festival
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Over 100 pieces of art, all 10 inches squared in size and all created by local artists, will soon be up for auction to benefit the Blyth Festival.
Artists have been submitting pieces for weeks now. The Oct. 10 deadline for submissions has since passed and now the organization phase of the project is underway in preparation for the Nov. 10 opening of the online auction, which will run until Dec. 10.
On Nov. 10, there will be a live link to the auction on the Festival website at blythfestival.com or those seeking more information can e-mail BF10X10@gmail.com.
Laurel Armstrong and Cindy Fisher, both long-time supporters of the Festival, have taken the lead on the project in the hopes of raising funds to assist the Festival in hopefully rolling out a full theatre season in 2021.
Fisher, in an interview with The Citizen, said she had been planning a revival of an in-person art auction that had previously benefited the Festival. It was also similar in that all art pieces were the same size, like this November’s auction.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, an in-person auction wasn’t feasible, so she shifted the concept to an online auction
in the hopes of aiding the Festival in what has been a challenging year.
Fisher and Armstrong soon began reaching out to local artists, many of whom are supporters of the Festival or members of the Blyth Festival Art Gallery, which is housed in the Bainton Gallery. They said the response was “wonderful” and that local artists of all stripes were more than willing to lend their talents to the fundraiser.
Armstrong said that one of the most encouraging things about the arts and culture community became evident when they began planning the show. The community, she said, really pulls together and members help one another when they are in need, so the artists saw the Festival needed help and were more than willing to step up.
Fisher agreed, saying the response has been tremendous. She said that she hoped the auction would not only serve to benefit the Festival, but that it would also serve as a stage for local artists getting their work into the homes of art lovers. Visual artists, she said, have also been hit hard by the pandemic, so the auction could stand to benefit more than one arts community.
While some of the art that has been submitted has been traditional like oil, acrylic, pastel and watercolour, there have also been some non-traditional submissions like photography, jewelry and a variety of other forms of media.
Blyth Festival Artistic Director Gil Garratt says he has been overwhelmed by the support the Festival is receiving from the community.
“We’re really blown away by this; the work is beautiful, the generosity of these artists is so profound,” Garratt said in an e-mail to The Citizen. “At a time when we are all reminded every day just how much we all have to depend on each other, it’s deeply moving to see the community step forward and ask ‘how can we help? what can we do?’ Such a beautiful reminder to all of us about what art can be in this world.”
The art will be on display and open for bidding at 10 a.m. on Nov. 10 and will remain opening for the following month.
While Fisher and Armstrong created the fundraiser, it has since been carried out by a committee that includes many of the artists who have contributed work to the auction, including Blyth Festival Art Gallery President Carl Stevenson, Rob Tetu, William Creighton, Michele Miller and Judy Barker. Jennifer Lamb, the Festival’s director of audience development and services also serves on the committee, representing the Festival.
For more information on the auction, visit blythfestival.com.