Every year, the Splash Art Auction preview and artist appreciation event at the Pendulum Gallery is a highlight on my calendar. It’s a night filled with exquisite art, fascinating conversations, and a shared love for creativity. However, this year’s event surpassed all expectations, leaving me with an overwhelming urge to share my experience.
The evening began with a sense of excitement and anticipation, as it always does. Even though we were fairly early and got there 15 min after the official start of the event, the atmosphere was already electric, buzzing with the collective energy of artists and full of art enthusiasts. The art, of course, was exceptional, but this year, it was on an entirely different level. I found myself scanning numerous barcodes throughout the event, eager to learn more about the artwork and the talented individuals who created it, and perhaps secretly hoping I could afford to take one of these masterpieces home.
One of the highlights of the evening was the opportunity to reconnect with Bruce Munro Wright, a gracious host who had invited us to his awe-inspiring home a few years back. His house is a work of art in itself—divine, perfectly located, well-designed, and adorned with outstanding art. I couldn’t help but chuckle when I remembered that during that visit, we were training a PADS (Pacific Assistance Dogs Society) dog who was nervous about stairs. Consequently, I spent the majority of my time on the ground floor while my spouse explored and enjoyed his home.
My conversation with Bruce led to an introduction to Marie Khouri, an artist that I had never met until that night. As it turns out, Marie speaks French and spent 28 years living in France, providing us with plenty to talk about. Meeting her and her son, who was also attending the event, was a delightful surprise. Marie’s artwork, showcased at the event, was nothing short of fabulous – a piece worth $36,000 made of concrete and marble powder, an abstract figure that left me speechless.
While the art was undoubtedly the star of the evening, the culinary offerings from Lazy Gourmet also left a lasting impression. Last year’s catering had left me underwhelmed, so I had modest expectations this time. However, Lazy Gourmet unveiled their newest menu, and they nailed it.
The Splash Auction always features exceptional works from the best local artists, and this year, my appreciation for the pieces reached new heights. Some of my favorites included David Ellingsen’s acrylic piece “Obsolete Delete, Rotary Dial Telephone”, Jay Senetchko’s oil on archival matte board called Big City Study, Lisa Turner’s Green Glass and Steel Sculpture, Angela Grossmann, Terrence P.R. Turner, and, of course, the remarkable Leanne M Christie.
The online auction opened that night, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of those pieces already had bids. You can view the Preview Exhibition here until October 19th, and the grand finale, the Splash Gala, is set for October 21st at the Fairmont Hotel. Co-chaired by the dynamic and hard-working duo Christie Garofalo and Bruce Munro Wright for years, Splash is Arts Umbrella’s flagship fundraiser, with proceeds supporting access to arts education for young people—a cause very dear to our hearts.
As if all of this weren’t enough, the night also featured a delightful surprise – an Indigenous fashion show by the talented Joleen Mitton. This was a first, and it was a refreshing and much-appreciated addition to the event. Joleen’s dedication to promoting cross-cultural understanding and challenging stereotypes about Indigenous peoples was on full display. The diverse models showcased brilliant clothing designs that left the audience in awe.
Paul Larocque, President & CEO of Arts Umbrella, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the artists and their generosity, embodying the spirit of the event. He mingled with the crowd throughout the night, making everyone feel welcome and appreciated.
This year’s annual artists appreciation night reminded me how powerful the Vancouver art scene is and how uplifting this community makes you feel.