On Friday, October 27, Abbotsford’s Reach Gallery Museum hosted ArtHAUS, a Bauhaus-themed social gathering and fundraiser. The event drew a crowd of around 40-50 guests who mingled and, as the night progressed, took part in creative activities which ranged from tile painting, to putting together art deco-inspired Lego buildings.
Guests indulged in complementary hors d’oeuvre, and were encouraged to participate in the various planned activities, and browse the collections of local artists and artisans, all of which were for sale. One such contemporary artist, Sharon Huget, enticed attendants with work that ranged from small mixed media canvases, to wearable textiles which boasted prints of her paintings and photography.
Laura Schneider, executive director and curator at The Reach, explained that the inception of the fundraiser’s Bauhaus theme was a collaborative effort.
“As a staff, we discussed the concept, and collectively came up with some of the activities for the evening,” said Schneider. “But the core organization of the event came down to our director of development Ingrid Epp, and our assistant director of development Mary Finch.”
Peter Nicholson, who together with Robin Sather manned “ArtHAUS,” a station which offered guests the opportunity to put their architectural creativity to work in building era-inspired Lego structures, said that the event gave Abbotsford-based Lego architecture service Brickville DesignWorks an opportunity to connect with community members. Standing next to a Lego replica of Vancouver’s Marine Building, Nicholson said that the popular plastic bricks weren’t just for kids.
“It definitely takes skill,” he said. “The more you practice, the better you get at it. We’re using very limited pieces here, and still, look at what we’ve managed to make.”
Throughout the night, guests experimented at the stations, putting together structures, and meandering between workspaces.
As Schneider tells us, the reason the event took place is pressing nonetheless.
“[The Reach] has so many programs that we run throughout the year as a non-profit that are free to the public, [and] we need funds to support those kinds of events. Fundraising is ultimately what we’re here to do.”
Part of the reason fundraisers like this exist is so that The Reach can continue to be accessible to the public, without requiring that everyday patrons regularly purchase artwork.
“One of the challenges that we face is that the trappings of elitism is something that the art world is often charged with. Often, artists and arts organizations are running on a shoestring, and yet, we have to present an image that looks otherwise, because it’s in our best interest to appeal to a class of people who can afford to do things like buy art.”
And though many might feel that the price of art is unnecessarily beyond their reach, it’s likely that a lower price point wouldn’t be sustainable.
“It’s important for artists to be able to make a living selling their work, and to price their work accordingly.”
However, the event’s focus on fundraising did not preclude guests from joining in on the fun.
“One of the big goals [was] to re-introduce an adult population to the act of making,” said Schneider. “It’s not something we give ourselves licence to do very often, and doing so can be very therapeutic and social.” He added, “I’m a big fan of making things as accessible as possible, because we’re here for the community.”
At the end of the night, ArtHAUS and events like it proved not only to be an enjoyable social resource for attendees, but a key element in making sure that students and community members can continue to benefit from the many resources at The Reach, without breaking the bank.