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Going, going, gone..! Art Auction raises thousands for local refugees

So it finally happened! The long awaited Art Auction, postponed from last year, and moved from City Hall to your living room, has taken place.

After months of work by the ever energetic Norwich City of Sanctuary Arts Stream, the virtual auction exceeded all expectations by leap frogging the target of £3000, raising, an impressive £10,000+ for local refugee charities.

Maggie Wheeler from the Arts Stream takes us through the year-long preparations…

When we planned this last year, we envisaged a gala evening, with drinks, music and a party atmosphere. We were so downhearted to have to postpone at the last minute when lockdown became inevitable.
Over the summer we focused on supplying art and craft materials to refugee children, naively thinking our rescheduled date for late September would go ahead.
By the end of the year, we knew fundraising was urgently needed, and frankly we were fed up with having artworks behind our sofas, and umpteen boxes of bubble wrap in our spare rooms. Our generous and patient artists had donated their work to be sold for a good cause, not to languish at home.
By now we were all used to Zoom, so we took a deep breath, did a lot of technical rehearsals and went for it.

On the night our amazing auctioneer Simon Floyd, and two of the Arts Stream ‘auction clerks,’ sat in a community hall, and hoped.
And we were not disappointed. We had over 70 pieces of art to sell, kindly donated by artists, many of whom are well-known, such as Colin Self and Antony Gormley.
The auction went off smoothly: every single piece was sold, with winning bids varying from between £50 – £500, and many whose bids were not successful made generous donations.

We learnt that we could achieve a sense of common purpose from our sofas; that we could have a great evening together although physically apart, and we could raise an amazing £10,500.

The day before we swore we would never do it again…..but who knows? We’ve had a lot of artists contact us since, to ask us if there will be another auction in the future. And the response from the audience has also been very positive. Our love and thanks go to all our artists, supporters, and buyers, without whom non of this would have been possible.