Online art auction returning to benefit the Blyth Festival
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
After a very successful introduction in 2020, the Blyth Festival 10x10 Art Sale is back this year, with bidding to open on Nov. 1 in an effort to raise money for the Festival.
Organizers Cindy Fisher and Laurel Armstrong said they were so happy with the results of the 2020 auction that they knew they wanted to return in two or three years. At first, they wanted to take the temperature of the community and establish the level of interest. However, the sale raised nearly $16,000 for the Festival, which Armstrong and Fisher saw as very successful. To help raise funds for the Festival, they were able to bring in over 130 pieces of art, which was also a response that greatly impressed Armstrong and Fisher.
In an interview with The Citizen, Armstrong said the pair was so grateful to the art community for its generosity and buy-in with the concept.
She said she felt the timing was right, because with so many organizations struggling throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, donor fatigue was a very real factor, so they felt returning in two years was the right thing to do.
Armstrong said she and Fisher were able to partner with Elizabeth’s Art Gallery in Goderich to provide discounted 10-inch-squared canvases for the artists on which they can create their piece.
The organizers are now collecting pieces from artists until the middle of October. The sale will kick off on Nov. 1 with the auction closing on Dec. 1. Their goal is to collect over 125 pieces of art again this year.
“Visual artists have also been hit by the pandemic, so the auction offers a small sample of the depth of creative work in our area. So many artists and members of the creative community have lost out on events that were cancelled over the pandemic period. The online ‘gallery’ showcases our artists’ works and invites viewers to bid for their favourites. It gets quite exciting at the end, when people are hoping to win the bid on their pieces. And the funds raised will support the theatre’s work, creating a new, exciting season on stage for all our enjoyment,” said Fisher.
In a press release for the auction, Armstrong and Fisher said that while the Festival has been able to rebound slightly with a truncated season in 2021, the cancellation of The Waltz this summer shows that the COVID-19 pandemic is still wreaking havoc on the theatre community.
“We look forward to a generous response from our artists – invitations to join the auction have gone out and we are eager to see the collection of work. Our goal is to have a wide range of art themes and more than 125 unique works for our online gallery,” said Fisher.
Artists who submitted pieces in 2020 hailed from throughout Huron and Perth Counties, as well as from the Owen Sound and Sarnia areas and even from the Greater Toronto Area.
The online auction will be live on Nov. 1 on the Blyth Festival website at blythfestival.com and registration forms for artists can be found at art galleries throughout the county and at all Huron County libraries.