So Funraising’s debut event happened. ArtBox and it’s little brother PostBox went down on Thursday 14th December in the cosy basements of Solomon’s Café Bar and Indigo Lounge respectively. If you attended either, you’ll know that the 14th was a resounding fundraising success for all.
At the start of the evening we prepared the basement with decorations and arranged all the original donated artworks. Never having counted the pieces, or having seen all of the pieces in one place, we began to wonder if we were even going to have enough room on all the walls for them. Space quickly filled up and we had to rework the set-up as we awaited the arrival of further pieces that were still being mounted down the road.
As people started arriving upstairs, things were looking pretty decent downstairs – even though we were still trying to put the final touches on things. Artist and Funraising friend Faye Gosling took this article’s featured photo amongst the scrabble of setting up. This was in response to a panicked instruction – ‘Get some shit up on Facebook so that people actually come’.
After months of preparation, a slow start had us nervous that all the incredible art wasn’t going to be fully appreciated, but our worries were lifted as Funraising’s own DJ Dijon (aka Jesse Hazlewood) hit the decks, with help from DJ Spicy English (George Fairs) and Joe Yapp, filling the basement with chilled, good vibes. As it hit 7 pm, the box was quickly filled with a flood of colourful conversations between groups of mates with pints in hand, as they made their way around all the walls awash with art. New visitors were greeted by the soothing sounds of Joe Brennan on the mic upstairs, followed by a psychedelic set by Ronald Raygun.
As bidding got underway, Persian Hugs took over upstairs with a special performance, and a lovely crowd gathered to fill their ears with delights. In the meantime, it really packed out in the basement, and excitement reached fever pitch. Bidding wars saw a couple of pieces reach the £50 mark, and it was becoming clear that most people had grown a real attachment to pieces that they wanted to win.
The busy atmosphere led us to extend the bidding-period later than expected to 10 pm. The big black table became the focal point of the room, where everyone crowded around to check the bidding papers in the hope that they hadn’t been outbid. It was interesting to see the human condition of competition come out in force as people fought for the artworks that they just couldn’t do without. I recall a very nervous Josh Owen imploring me to close the bidding, so he wouldn’t lose his favorite piece (one that he luckily got in the end).
Bidding finally closed at 10 pm and all 54 pieces officially had a new home to go to. Moving things on to Indigo for the after party, saw everyone continuing the good times ’til late. A spectacular projection show by the talented Aleksander Brayanov set the scene, with Funraising’s residents DJ Frenchie Wholegrain, DJ Dijon and DJ Spicy English stirring everything from techno to jungle into the mix to the very end, including a unique remix of Antiques Roadshow by DJ Dijon. Further help also come from ‘the people’s hero’, Shea Nancarrow.
Thanks and special mentions
So let’s talk numbers. Everyone who came in their droves of generosity helped us to raise £816 with the art auction alone. Including Postbox, postcard sales, and further donations, together we raised a spectacular grand total of £1,119.81. Big up to each and everyone one of you that donated. These vital funds raised will go to the incredibly important work that Manchester Mind does to aid mental health. Let’s continue to keep the conversation on mental health alive today. If you’d like to find out more about Manchester Mind, visit their page here.
Special thanks goes out to Fred Aldous Manchester (especially an amazing man called Mark) for providing us with the means and materials to get a great deal of our art mounted.
Equally huge thanks go to CASS Art Manchester (and Adam specifically), who provided the raw materials for some of the work. I have heard from a good source that CASS Art Manchester also helped our charitable friends SkatePAL out with the donation of raffle prizes. So, it’s clear that CASS Art Manchester is a store with a huge and giving heart. Both CASS and Fred Aldous are great organisations that breed creativity with their affordable, great quality art supplies, so why not go and visit one of their stores some time?
Equally, if we have interested you and you’d like to follow more of what Funraising does in the future, bookmark our website, and better yet give us a like here on Facebook.
Photo credits: Daniel Kirke photography.