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Quest Art's 'fantastic' fundraiser offers original works for $1 a day

'It's a wonderful event in bringing everyone together and talking to the artists,' said Quest Art at Home patron, noting fundraiser has brought in $120,000 since 2013

Beaming like a Cheshire cat, Catherine Cowley walked out of last year's Quest Art at Home with a large Mark Hope painting.

"I have to say it was fantastic. I went in ahead of time and looked at the paintings and identified my top four or five. There was one particular painting by Mark Hope. That was my No. 1 pick and I was able to get it because it was a really large painting," she said.

That top pick costs her $1 day to have it in her home for one year. Now Cowley is bringing it back because she has her eye on a few paintings up for grabs at this Thursday's event at the Midland Cultural Centre.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Quest Art at Home a program that supports local artists as part of its goal of making art more accessible for the public, said Cathy Tait, chair of the Quest board of directors.

"Each year we get about 35 to 40 artists participate. They create their works and then give it to us for one year and our patrons get to pick their art," Tait said.

Started in 2013, the project offers one original art piece for a year's membership: $365. 

"Since 2013, we have raised over $120,000 for Quest Art over the nine years, as we didn't hold one in 2021," said Tait.

This year there are 47 pieces in the program, organized by Judy Goode, all of which are featured on the website:

Cowley said she is excited to return for her second year.

"It's a wonderful event in bringing everyone together and talking to the artists."

Tait agreed.

"We have a great mix of abstract, classical, traditional art and our artists love it because many times they change up their style for this."

So far 40 memberships have been sold. On Thursday, doors open at 6. The selection starts at 7 p.m.

How it works is the patron, who has purchased a membership, picks their top five to 10 favourites. Then everyone's name is put in a hat. Name cards are drawn and that person can pick whatever piece of art they want. The reason you want to pick a few favourites is so you get one you want, explained Tait.

"People usually get one of their top three," said Tait, who will be the emcee of Thursday's event. "Once they've chosen their piece, the patron gets to hear the story of the art from the artist which makes it so meaningful."

Every piece has a story. Artist Ginette Pelletier, for example, often creates introspective works, said Tait. She has two pieces in the show. One, entitled The Cottage, is an image of boy looking out a cottage door, seen from the inside of the cottage.

Patrons have first dibs on purchasing the art at any time. If they return it in a year, it goes back to the artist who can sell it.

"We have a good uptake of patrons buying the art for their homes or businesses," said Tait.

One patron buys two or three memberships and then donates the paintings to be hung at Georgian Bay General Hospital or at Quest and then rotates them the next year, Tait explained.

A membership gives the patron's family a years membership to the galleries, a discount on workshops and classes, invitations to members-only events and exhibitions and a vote at the annual general meeting.

Quest volunteers will wrap the artwork in brown paper for safe transportation at the end of the event.

For more information call Quest at 705-529-3355 or email: [email protected].

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Gisele Winton Sarvis

About the Author: Gisele Winton Sarvis

Gisele Winton Sarvis is an award winning journalist and photographer who has focused on telling the stories of the people of Simcoe County for more than 25 years
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