March 15, 2005

Benefit Art Auction Raises Over $5000 for Sudan Charity

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With a live jazz band playing in the background, Help a Life Organization (HALO) held its second annual art auction this past Friday entitled “A Painted Gala” in the Johnson Museum as part of a fundraiser for children living in the Sudan. About 150 pieces of art were all live auctioned and showcased from 50 different artists.

The event raised over $5000 in total; $1000 from a silent auction held last Wednesday among trustees, and the rest through the live auction. Last year $3000 dollars were raised in total from the event.

“I think this event was very successful,” said Nick Hilliard ’05, one of the organizers of the event. “It’s fun to get people out and do things they normally wouldn’t do, especially for a good cause like this.”

The pieces themselves were donated from a mix of artists, collectors, students and alumni.

HALO, an organization founded in 2001 at Cornell, devotes its time to improving the lives of infants and young children. The group has donated an infant resuscitator to Cayuga Medical Center, made infant sleepers and blankets with other members of the Cornell Community and donated $3500 to a children’s hospital in Nepal. Last year, the group sent the $3000 it earned from the auction to Bangladesh for infant healthcare supplies, said Jessica ’05, one of the main coordinators of the event.

Describing the conditions in the Sudan, the HALO president Fatima Iqbal ’05 said, “Out of 1000 babies born [in the Sudan], 93 will die before they reach the age of five. Only eight out of 1000 in the US will die.”

Before the second round of live auctions started, Uvinie Hettiaratchy ’06 gave a presentation on a summer she spent in the Sudan after her freshmen year. The presentation included slides of the people of the Sudan, children, Bedouin tribes, living conditions, seemingly abandoned cities and the patients of a leprosy camp she visited.

“It’s important to give a face to exactly where your money is going” she said.

After the first auction, the success of the event was apparent. “So far it extremely successful,” Hayes said. “Only one third of the art has been sold, and we’ve raised over $1000,” she said Compared to last years auction, the success was also apparent through the increase in attendance, even despite technical problems with publicity.

“I feel like more people are here as opposed to last year, because last year we held it in the [Willard Straight] Memorial Room,” Iqbal said as the explanation to the increase of size. “The art theme is brought out here more, and people just want to be in the Johnson.”

While the attendees were cautious at first, toward the end of the night many bidding wars erupted, bringing works of art starting at $20 up to $190.

Archived article by Emily Gordon
Sun Staff Writer