This year we had to reimagine many of the ways we run RE-create, including our annual fundraiser “Battle of the Brushes.”
RE-create, a drop-in art studio for youth artists in Hamilton’s core, offers free arts programming. To do so, we rely on grants, donations, and fundraisers through which our supporting community ensures this program remains available to youth who might not otherwise have access to such opportunities.
Every year we have a live painting competition called “Battle of the Brushes” to raise money for the studio. Typically we have a number of artists gathering in a large venue for an evening of art-making. While they create their works, supporters and art-lovers mingle, watch the artists at work, enjoy hors d’ouevres, and vote for their favorite pieces. Artists with the most votes move on to the next rounds, creating additional works. All the art is also up for auction. In past years, it has been a delightful evening of fellowship and creativity.
This year, due to the pandemic, we moved our event moved online. We had over 20 artists participate in what we called “Battle of the Brushes – squared.” The event still had the fun, auction component without the live art making.
Artists were asked to create a 12 x 12″ square piece of art from the comfort of their home, in any medium they choose. All artwork started at a bid of $50, and all proceeds went to fund our studio.
The auction took place online over a weekend and we promoted each artist and their piece through our Facebook and Instagram accounts. Together we raised $1368 dollars for the studio and sold almost every piece of art that was submitted.
The new format had some additional elements that added to the fun of the event. Artists from all over Ontario could submit works to the auction. Throughout the weekend, people were checking their phones to keep track of the bids on their favourite pieces, making sure they were not out-bid. And RE-create supporters could participate from all over. We even shipped a piece of artwork to the Switzerland!
Moving to an online platform definitely expanded our fundraisers’ reach and made it easier for more artists to participate in our event. While we missed the buzz of a room full of people, and seeing paintings being created live, we were happy and proud to have been able to pivot our event in a way that still let the creativity flow!