ARTSIDA has become an important event on Montreal’s spring social calendar, raising tens of thousands of dollars each year for AIDS Community Care Montreal.
Almost $45,000 was raised at last year’s auction at Hôtel des Encans. Organizers are moving this year’s edition to the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal (MAC) in the heart of Montreal’s art and performance district.
“I’ve organized five charity auctions in my life, and they’re really all about the energy and competition in the room,” says Laura Boo MacDonald, art historian and ACCM fundraising and events assistant. “Right now people are expressing a lot of interest in a few pieces, so I anticipate those will go for above market value. In my dreams we walk away with $65,000. We’ll see.”
Some of the artists who donated pieces this year include Daniel Barkley (who illustrated the posters for gay playwright Bryden MacDonald’s hit 2009 play With Bated Breath). In all, there are 62 pieces. The April 7 cocktail party and auction at the MAC will also feature a live painting and dance performance by Montreal graffiti artist Zilon.
“Going from [Hôtel des Encans] to the MAC is a pretty big jump for us,” says MacDonald. “The MAC really is the centre of Montreal’s contemporary arts world, and ARTSIDA has risen like a rocket to great heights the last four years. We’ve grown from a small gay community event to world-class Montreal event, with artists who sell works internationally, like Evergon and Frank Milo. The works of artists like Dominic Besner are found in collections around the world.
“It’s also really entertaining to attend because, in the gay context, we all know how we can be friendly bitches to one another. So it’s great to watch people compete at this auction.”