Volunteer art auction nets $16,790 for Blyth Festival
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
The first-ever 10x10 Blyth Festival art auction has been deemed a success by organizers, raising just under $17,000 for the Festival through donated art pieces.
The auction closed last week and, according to Festival Director of Audience Development and Services Jennifer Lamb, just three of the dozens of pieces of art – all made to fit a 10-inch-square space – finished the auction without any bids. She said that figure is tremendous for an online art auction, with the Festival seeing interest nearly across the board.
Lamb said the Festival set a goal of $20,000, which she acknowledges was ambitious, but she and the rest of the show’s organizers were overwhelmed with how close they got to that number.
Lamb said the auction really came alive in its final days with many new bidders coming along in the final 48 hours of the month-long auction. However, it also started strong with nearly $3,000 in bidding on the day the auction opened.
Lamb said that the Festival community has been grateful for the hard work and dedication of organizers Laurel Armstrong and Cindy Fisher, who first brought the idea of an auction to the Festival.
Initially, Armstrong and Fisher were planning on hosting it next year, but accelerated their timeline due to the COVID-19 pandemic to aid the Festival during a year in which it was unable to produce a season.
“This has been an inspiring surprise on every level,” said Festival Artistic Director Gil Garratt. “The community of artists who came forward with work, the donors who leapt at the chance to bid... and I keep thinking too, about how at the end of the day, the theatre is on safer footing because of the generosity and there is just a little more beauty hanging in 100 homes. That’s a pretty amazing way to respond to the moment we’re facing – with more art.”
Lamb said that while nothing has been decided, Fisher and Armstrong are considering hosting the auction every second year as a way to benefit the Festival.