Thursday night was a night of firsts for the organizers of the 2013 Char-ity and Art Auction.
Christy Schweiger holding up Faithe Sovdi's chair, Hope Strong and Free. A chair decorated with children's hand prints and O' Canada.
It was the first time the event was being held at the Wakamow Valley Sportsman’s Centre. It was the first time those attending were able to move around and visit throughout the event. It was the first time their was a penny parade, silent auction and entertainment.
And it was the first time a chair was auctioned for $3,000.
All-in-all it was an amazing night and organizers could not have been more pleased, said Ross Melanson of the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery (MJMAG).
Before the auction began, Melanson said he was just thrilled to see such a great turnout.
“We are so close to a sell out it’s just great. I think in the past we attracted about 70 people and tonight with volunteers we are definitely over 200 and that’s amazing.”
However, it was after the auction was complete and the tentative numbers were in that the smile Melanson had been wearing all night took a real turn for the sky.
Between the 14 pieces of Chair-ity art and one Chair-ry pie, an amazing $9,030 was raised for the children’s programs at both the MJMAG and Hunger in Moose Jaw.
Carol Acton of Hunger in Moose Jaw, co-organizer of the event, said after 10 years of working together with the MJMAG on this event, to this, day she could not have asked for a better partnership.
“They are always just so wonderful and creative. I always say we are feeding the body, the mind and the spirit … and together we do that so wonderfully and that’s really important to us.”
As for the new look, Acton said this past spring organizers felt it was time for a change and were looking to expand “and boy did we ever.”
“We all just decided in the spring that maybe we should try something different and I mean wow, this is more than we hoped. This is just wonderful.”
Although there were a number of auction items that did cause and bit of frenzy between those bidding, the most exciting showdown came about when Tayler LaBelle’s, Procreation, was up for grabs.
Designed and built by the SIAST student and his dad, the wood and tractor tire chair was not only the largest item up for auction, but apparently the most desired, going for $3,000.
Although in the past the final “sold” to be belted out by auctioneer Glenn Hagel would have normally meant the end of the event, with the new Chair-ity Auction format, Hagel’s auctioneering antics were not the end, but the opening act for the talented Jack Semple.
In the end the event turned out to be more than the organizers could have ever imagined and Melanson said he can’t wait for another year.
“(Tonight’s) contributions have been beautiful, extremely generous and we are extremely thankful for all the support.”