- BC Games
Treasures brought to light
Betty Dhont has been collecting art for a long time and it fills most of the walls in her home on Bowen Island. At one point, she wondered what would happen if she had to move into a smaller space and the idea for the Out of the Attic art show and sale was born. This is the second time, Dhont organizes the event together with Ann Ramsay and Greta Smith. All three are members of the visual arts committee of the Bowen Island Arts Council, the organization that will receive proceeds from the sale that starts on September 13 at the Gallery at Artisan Square.
“I always buy art and was wondering what we should do with our pieces when we have to downsize,” Dhont explained. “And I thought, why not have an exhibit and sale from pieces that people would like to go to a new home?”
Two years ago, the first Out of the Attic show featured around 50 pieces, this year it has grown to over 80 pieces and Dhont says that the selection is amazing. “We’ve got a collection of about 10 Inuit sculptures from the ‘70s. We have beautiful pieces by Ian Fry, Bill Reid and Sam Black,” Dhont said. These are just a few of the big names that will be up for grabs. Among the others mentioned on a poster designed by Karen Watson are Elizabeth Leach, Nick Bantock and Gordon Smith.
“We’ve only accepted original pieces like paintings, etchings, lithos and sculptures - that kind of thing,” Dhont said.
Ann Ramsay added that some of the pieces were donated, some consigned. “On consigned pieces, we get 30 per cent for sales under $1,000 and 20 per cent for $1,000 and up,” Dhont said.
“We have a large cross section of work that will make a fascinating show and sale,” Ramsay explained. “The pieces are both contemporary and historical and range from small, for example 5 by 6”, to large, like 3’6” by 5’. And the prices range from $100 to $3,200.”
Dhont added that the majority of the work will be offered below gallery prices. As an example, Ramsay mentions a “beautiful yellow cedar totem that is 57” tall that will be offered for $1,200. Other special items include a Japanese woodblock by Sadao Watanabe, a jade statue, a piece of Venetian glass and an aluminum etched table by Bernard Rohne.
Dhont said that the organizing committee approached lot of people personally in addition to sending out an invitation to submit through the arts council. While most of the pieces found their way directly from private ownership to the Out of the Attic exhibit, a few come from the Knick Knack Nook, Bowen Island’s re-use it store.
“We work with the Knick Knack Nook and received about 11 pieces of art,” Dhont said. “The proceeds go back to Knick Knack Nook.”
She explained that when a piece of original art arrives at the store, the volunteers responsible for sorting the merchandise will save it to be appraised by Bill Leithead. “One of the pieces that came in was an early work by Daniel Izzard,” Dhont said. “I went to see his wife to authenticate it. It’s one of his early works - a very lovely piece.”
It will be offered for $1,200 and Dhont adds that even after the 20 per cent commission, the Knick Knack Nook is likely to get a better price than it could by selling it at the store. “It’s a win-win situation,” she said.
“What’s wonderful about this exhibit is that we have strong well-known artists but also great lesser known artists,” Dhont said, “We have high quality pieces that are very well priced.” And although the idea for the show was born with a view to downsize, the art on offer this year may tempt Dhont to purchase more.
“There are amazing pieces,” she says, adding that she has to wait just like everyone else until the Gallery at Artisan Square opens on Friday, September 13, at noon to put her name on a few of her choices.
“It’s first come, first serve,” she adds. The show runs from September 13 to October 14 and an opening reception will be held on September 13 from 7 to 9:30 p.m.
Gallery hours are Friday to Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“The money will support BIAC and the Gallery at Artisan Square for our terrific programs, classes and special events,” Dhont said.