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Art from the Attic sale supports African grandmothers

Regina Leader Post. Bryan Thompson. March 13, 2019.

Eight-year-old Courtney Rose of Cambridge has already selected an artwork she plans to purchase at this year’s Art from the Attic sale.

The image, depicting a mother and baby giraffe, belonged to the youngster’s cousin.

“She wanted me to donate it for her,” said Rose, the granddaughter of sale organizer Donna Howell. “I really like it because giraffes are one of my favourite animals.”

Howell is a member of the Grand River Grannies, who host the sale at Glenhyrst Art Gallery and is now in its third year.

All proceeds go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation supporting African grandmothers and the 15 million AIDS orphans in their care.

“In our first two sales we had about 1,200 pieces donated from Brantford and Brant County,” says Howell. “We’re at the 300 mark now with another week-and-a-half of collection left.”

Howell says donated items are often the wrong size or color as people change their décor. In some cases it’s because people have downsized to a condo or retirement home.

Bert Dorpmans of the McMaster Gallery in Dundas appraises each piece collected for Art from the Attic sale.

Howell says the best pieces are put in a blind auction and displayed at the Glenhyrst Cottage. People can put bids on them over the three days of the sale, with the earliest high bid winning.

“There was a wonderful little, dark oil painting that sold for $1,300 last time,” Howell recalls. “And we had a very mysterious piece that may have been done by a cubist named Messinger which, if it could have been identified, would have been worth about $60,000.”

Howell says no one, including the appraiser, could positively identify the piece, but it did sell for about $800.

“Everything else is for sale over the three days and we wildly discount them because we want to find homes for everything,” Howell says.

Linda Turek of the Grand River Grannies has been busy picking up art donations for the sale.

“It’s amazing the stories behind the art, where they collected it, how long it has been in the family,” Turek notes. “Often I help take them down off the wall.

“It’s amazing how people light up when they see art, saying ‘That would look so nice in my living room,’” Turek observes before adding, “And yet the person who was giving it away told me ‘I’m so tired of it I just want to get rid of it.’”

Art from the Attic with the Grand River Grannies runs March 22 to 24 at the Cottage at the Glenhyrst Art Gallery, located at 20 Ava Road in Brantford.

Hours are noon to 8 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Art donations can be dropped off at Tansley’s in St. George, Midtown Café in Paris, the Blue Dog Café in Brantford, or at Glenhyrst Art Gallery.

For pick-up, call Turek at 519-753-8784.

In conjunction with the sale, Grand River Grannies, Glenhyrst and McMaster Gallery are presenting the What’s It Worth? Appraisal Day on March 24 from noon to 4 p.m. in the main gallery.

Howell says that Dorpmans brings a handful of other antique specialists who will attempt to determine the history and value of antiques, stamps, furniture, coins, jewellery, fine art, glassware and bottles. Howell notes that appraisals are not insurance-usable, and a limit of three items can be appraised, at $10 for the first piece and $5 for additional items.

bethompson@postmedia.com

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