The Visual Arts Student Union prepares for upcoming Silence auction

By in Culture

Picture this: The day is Dec. 7, 2018. You slip into your hottest red velvet suit. With your last $50 bill, you strut your way into the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery. “Frida Kahlo,” a volunteer greets you, “it’s so great to see you!”

You give the volunteer a toonie for a glass of wine. You make your rounds and scrawl a barely legible “Kahlo — $20” under a print and a painting that catch your eye. Grabbing a cookie, you spend your last $8 on a round of drinks for your friends.

You spend the rest of the night chirping Picasso for being a creep and ripping up the dance floor with Jackson Pollock. You leave with two beautiful works of art to give away for Christmas.

This could be your evening at Silence, the annual student art auction organized by the Visual Arts Students’ Union. The event will be held at the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery on Dec. 7 at 7:00 p.m. Artwork for sale will be on display from Dec. 3 to 7 at the Snelgrove on campus.

A VASU silent auction participant bids on a piece.

The Silence auction is unique in that each person in attendance is given the alias of a famous artist for the duration of the event. The event is open to the public, but the price is right for students. Alcoholic beverages can be purchased by donation, food is free, and bids start as low as $20 for the art on display.

Last year, VASU was revived by a group of students after it fizzled out the previous year. The union’s president, Mary Sarcauga, says one of their goals in the restoration of the union was to make it more inclusive.

“We opened it for everyone. There’s a lot of computer science students, some students from nursing, sociology, psychology, agriculture… We’re hoping to stretch it out and tell more people. It’s less exclusive — it’s a way for us to open our doors,” Sarcauga said.

With this policy, VASU is making art more accessible to all university students. After paying the membership fee of $5, all members have the opportunity to enter their submissions into the silent auction as well as the chance to attend VASU drawing sessions, events and workshops for free.

VASU members who volunteer at the event take home 75 per cent of proceeds from the sale of their art, and non-volunteers take 50 per cent home. The remainder of the proceeds go to VASU, which will put the money towards events and workshops organized for students.

Any money VASU comes away with goes towards drawing sessions, events and workshops for members. Drawing sessions occur monthly in the drawing studio. VASU pays models to come in and pose, and artists can bring any medium to work with. The last session for this term is Dec. 5 at 5 p.m.

The group is hoping to raise money for workshops such as paper marbling, colour theory and steamroller lino art — which involves driving a steamroller over an aluminum plate carved with your art.

For more information on VASU, you can visit their Facebook page @vasu.uofs or their Instagram @uofsvasu.

Jaden Pierce

Photo: VASU / Supplied