An art show with a difference opened at the Ashcroft HUB on Sept. 9, and will be running live through Sept. 12 and online until the end of the month.
The Anonymous Art Show features more than 75 works by local artists; everyone from professionals who have been paid for their art to children to people who have never picked up a brush. The event is a fundraiser for the HUB, and organizer Jessica Clement says she stole the idea from an event in Vanderhoof, where her parents live.
“It was something they were doing, and the woman who was in charge of it was coming down here,” she says. “My mom suggested she contact me and have a tour of the HUB, and she told me about the Vanderhoof show and gave me the registration form.”
This was in 2019, and Clement says the idea of the Anonymous Art Show has been percolating since then. “The HUB is working on lots of fundraising, to try to bring in more funds to maintain and create more programming here, so we decided this was the time to do it.” The show was announced earlier this summer, and the only stipulations were that all work had to be done on an 8” by 8” canvas (which the HUB supplied at $5 each), and could not be signed on the front.
“We put out the call and said it was open to anybody, whether you were a professional or had never done art before.”
Because none of the works are signed on the front, only Clement knows who all the artists are. She says that the youngest person to submit a work is three years old, and the oldest artist is in their 70s. About 150 canvases were spoken for, but Clement is really pleased they had 75 returned. “That’s a big number. We had a lot of people who want to support us.” About one-third of the participants submitted more than one work.
The pieces are in various mediums, including oil and acrylic paints, pencil, photography, and mosaics. Clement says there was no restriction on the medium or subject, but adds they received a large number of sunflower paintings after local artist Jo Petty ran two successful painting classes in August where participants could purchase 8” by 8” canvases and follow her guidance to create sunflowers.
“Acrylic was the most popular medium, and we have lots of flowers. People who have never held a brush were the smallest group. We also had a few parents who probably haven’t painted for a while paint with their kids.”
The works will all be hung in the gym at the HUB, where they can be viewed in person until Saturday, Sept. 12. The viewing times are 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. through Sept. 11, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 12. Clement says that the HUB’s regular COVID-19 protocols will be in place, with physical distancing and hand sanitizing; attendees will also be asked to sign in.
“We hoped to have one big evening [for viewing], but we can’t do that,” explains Clement. After Sept. 12 the artwork will be taken down, but can still be viewed on the HUB’s website (https://ashcrofthub.ca/) until Sept. 30.
Each piece will have a bid sheet attached, and anyone who wants to bid on a piece can sign the sheet, silent auction-style. After Sept. 12 bidding will continue by phone until Sept. 30.
“That’s the only way we could keep track of bidding,” says Clement. You can phone the HUB office [250-453-9177] and ask what the current bid is on a work, then decide whether you want to increase it.” She adds that anyone who has their heart set on a particular work but who does not want to call in every day can wait until the end of the month and put in a final bid then if they really want something. The winning bidders will be contacted after the show closes on Sept. 30.
Clement says that half the proceeds from each sale will go to the HUB, with the other half going to the artist. “The funding will help us out with programming at the HUB, to sustain what we have and keep it low cost so everyone can participate, and also to do new things.”
She says that everyone who took part seems to have really enjoyed themselves. “People were able to create something, which was great, especially now when there’s not a lot to do. I know that for me, it was really fun to create some art for a purpose.
“Thanks to everybody for participating, and I hope that everyone comes out and sees the show and bids. It’s a chance to get some great art at a steal of a deal and support a good cause.”