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RECORD SPLASH: Living up to its name and reputation, Splash, Arts Umbrella’s flagship event, surpassed a million dollars for the first time in its 37 year history.
A complete sellout this year, Vancouver’s must-attend charity art auction and gala attracted a well-dressed and well-heeled crowd who came out in support Canada’s preeminent visual and performing arts school for children and young adults. Led once again by three-time chairs Christie Garofalo and Bruce Munro Wright, the event saw 100 top artists put forward their best work for sale.
Pieces by Alex Colville, Edward Burtynsky. Marleen Vermeulen, Dana Claxton, Kevin Boyle, Andrew Dadson, Christos Dikeakos and Patrick Hughes commanded the evening’s top bids. Orchestrated by senior artist and auctioneer Hank Bull, more than 80 per cent of 33 pieces in the live auction sold at-or-above value, signalling a record night ahead. Sponsorships along with proceeds from a diamond raffle and a silent auction of 67 other works of art would confirm the new fundraising standard.
Patrons also ponied up more than $50,000 in cash for Arts Umbrella’s bursary fund, established to provide increased access to arts education for the most vulnerable children and youth across Metro Vancouver. In total, a record-breaking $1,075,000 in total revenue was reportedly raised to support youth arts education.
“Heartfelt thanks to our Splash artists, co-chairs and Splash Committee, galleries, donors, sponsors, volunteers, staff, and all of our guests for this wonderful result. All of you are making a positive and lasting impact in our community,” said Michelle Martin, Chair of the Arts Umbrella board of directors.
“This fall marks Arts Umbrella’s 40th anniversary as a non-profit organization dedicated to building community and providing families with equitable access to the arts,” said Arts Umbrella CEO and President Paul Larocque. “With the funds raised at Splash, we can continue providing this access through bursaries, scholarships and donor-funded community programs.”
In 2020, Arts Umbrella will move into the former Emily Carr University of Art + Design South Building on Granville Island. The building will be transformed into a centre of innovation and excellence for young people in the visual and performing arts.
In support of the major campaign, Laroque announced at the top of the event an extraordinary donation of $2 million from Robert Lemon in memory of his late partner Bob Ledingham. News of the major gift and the naming of the Robert M. Ledingham School of Theatre and Music brought the Splash crowd to their feet.
The Richardson Family — David, Pamela and Colby — were among Arts Umbrella benefactors who contributed to the record-breaking $1,075,000 night. Photo: Fred Lee.
A Night to Inspire
INSPIRED STORIES: Since 1997, Inspire Health has been supporting patients and their families during and after their cancer treatment with services and programs for the mind, body and spirit. Services such as individualized exercise therapy, stress reduction, nutritional learning and counselling support. All of these services provided free of charge, and no physician referral required.
Knowing some 25,000 British Columbians will receive a cancer diagnosis this year, 300 guests recently came together to help as many patients take control of their cancer journey. Fei Wong, Barb Estey, Elizabeth Forgie, Shawna Gardham, Sandra Girard, Kevin Mazzone, Anna Nyarady and Mahtab Shafaee would steer the fourth A Night to Inspire Gala, presented by Pure Pharmacy. Yours truly along with CTV evening anchor Mi-jung Lee — a cancer survivor — emceed the formal affair held at the iconic Hotel Vancouver.
Moving stories by cancer patients Charles Hotel, Dawn Steele and Kathy McLaughlin, a three-time cancer survivor, brought tears as well as hope to gala-goers. Their testimonials would also open hearts and wallets. A spirited live auction and paddle raise would exceed expectations. Combined with ticket sales and sponsorships, the final tally would easily surpass last year’s $115, 000 haul, setting a new fundraising bar for the four-year-old event.
“Inspire Health is only partially funded by the Ministry of Health,” shared Wong. It is still in need of $1 million annually in fundraised dollars.
“Thank you to everyone for coming out and giving so generously from your heart tonight,” said Wong.
With storefronts in Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan, Inspire Health has helped more than 15,000 clients and families facing cancer since its inception.
FAMILY BOO-HA-HA: Established by two young mothers in 1972, Kitsilano’s West Side Family Place in Vancouver has been a welcoming place and sanctuary for mothers, fathers and caregivers as they navigate the challenges of raising kids.
Reducing isolation and vulnerability by connecting parents with each other and with the community, WSFP offers families a safe place to play, as well, resources to support the development and care of their children. The first centre of its kind in Canada, there is now a network of similar organizations across the country offering parental guidance.
Following the success of its inaugural Ghostly Gala — a Halloween hootenanny at Kitsilano Neighbourhood House — executive director Diane Elliot Buckley and board chair Christina Martin reprised the scary boo-ha-ha.
More than 125 costumed revellers — WSFP alumni, friends and supporters — packed the community hall for the party’s sophomore edition. Food courtesy of Nuba, a silent and live auction, and musical beats by DJ Ward provided the perfect party mix. As usual, West Side Family Place benefactor David Richardson, a long time Westside resident and realtor, matched every auction dollar raised, helping the not-for-profit reach its $35,000 goal.
Children’s performer Will Stroet of CBC’s Will’s Jams and his wife-and-manager Kim The took in the costume party at Kitsilano Neighbourhood House. Photo: Fred Lee.