A silent auction featuring the work of University of Richmond faculty, staff and students held on Feb. 12 raised $4,645 to benefit earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. Forty-two pieces were donated, including paintings, photography, ceramics and jewelry—of which 40 were sold. All proceeds went to Doctors Without Borders.

“We were flabbergasted by the interest from the UR community and beyond,” said art and art history department chair Tanja Softic.

The Department of Art and Art History organized the event, but administrative coordinator Cameron Jones says it was a community effort, with faculty, staff and students combining their efforts and resources.

“The idea behind the auction originally began with Tanja and she developed it in conjunction with the Solidarity Action for Haiti Committee and Jean-Pierre Laurenceau-Medina,” Jones said. “We requested donated artwork from both faculty and students and were pleasantly surprised at the number of participants. We also received a call from Lisa Miles from Common Ground who offered to contribute catering services for our event.”

A local framer offered to mount flat pieces, and an additional $100 was donated outside of the auction.

Sarah Nagel, ’10, who served as the event’s student coordinator and donated two pieces to the auction, said the University’s outpouring of support pleasantly surprised her.

“The auction was one small way to show how art, and specifically the talents and passions of many people here on campus, can be used to promote activism and to create a dialogue around important issues,” Nagel said.  “The auction also showed the generosity of the Richmond community. It really was a great success.”

For students who donated artwork, the auction also provided an opportunity to see what prices their pieces fetch—a first for many of them.

“I’ve never really put any of my pieces up for sale before, so it’s exciting to see how much people are willing to pay for it,” said Megan Bell, ’10, a studio art major who donated a print. “And it’s for such a good cause, but this is just an added bonus.”

Jones estimates that more than 60 community members came out to show their support.

Ben Mackey, ’13, heard about the event and got in touch with the organizers to see how he could help.

“The Haiti crisis is definitely something that needs our support right now, as do the University’s artists,” he said. “It’s great to come out and be here for both.”