Despite a long background in communication and advocacy, Leon Mar, now a board member and co-chair of the Line Art auction, had never heard of the Youth Line before attending his first auction.
“Actually, the way that I got involved in Youth Line has to do with Line Art directly,” he explains. “I didn’t grow up in Ontario, so I didn’t even know about the organization until I went to Line Art about five or six years ago.”
Mar continued to attend the annual art fundraising auction for Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line, a volunteer-driven, peer-to-peer service provider for Ontario youth. He ended up joining the board about a year ago and decided he wanted to devote his time at Youth Line to the Line Art auction, now in its 13th year.
Mar has been working with fellow co-chair and local artist Rui Amaral, and with the help of the organization they’ve been enacting some impressive changes. “We have a curatorial committee this year, for the first time in the auction’s history,” he says. “Usually it’s just one person who curates. This year we have three.”
The three curators are Jeremy Laing, a fashion designer; artist Derek Liddington; and Perry Tung, from Bonhams Canada. Mar says that as one of the largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques, Bonhams is an important ally to the auction. “He’s doing double duty this year. He’s on our curatorial committee, but he’s also our auctioneer.”
The curatorial team put together a collection of 50 pieces of artwork for the live auction, full of emerging and well-established talent, though they didn’t stop there. As a way to generate buzz and create an exciting opportunity to own a piece of the auction, Line Art created a paddle auction as well. Twenty artists and designers from across Toronto created 100 original paddles, which were put on display and then silently auctioned off on Oct 10.
“It’s also a great way for people who can’t afford to actually buy some of the works of art in the live auction to still buy a piece of art that’s affordably priced,” Mar says. “A lot of them went for over asking last night, but from now on they’re all $50, flat fee.”
Another big change is a preview of the live auction art – which is being hosted at Bonhams (20 Hazelton Ave) – giving patrons the opportunity to scope out pieces of art they could, potentially, own.
Accessibility is the name of the game for the auction this year. “If you’re not an art collector, that’s okay; we want you to come,” Mar says.
As the only fundraising event for Youth Line, Line Art plays an important role in keeping the organization afloat. “Youth Line is a really small organization. It only has a handful of full-time staff, but it supports thousands of LGBT youth all across the province,” he says.
“Because we’re a small organization we don’t have the capacity to hold a huge number of events like many other organizations are able to do. So we rely on this annual event, this once-a-year event, to raise as much money as we can.”
The live auction includes pieces by novelist and artist Douglas Coupland, and the Canadian 2013 Venice Biennale representative, Shary Boyle.
Line Art Auction
Tues, Nov 6, 6:30pm
Neubacher Shor Contemporary
5 Brock Ave