Robert Marcoux’s love of art has pushed Fort Langley a giant step closer to a pride crosswalk in the village.
The White Rock professional decorator and designer went home this weekend “extremely happy,” as the single largest bidder in a special in-person and online art auction hosted by a number of Langley artists, including Susan Falk.
Marcoux spent roughly $2,500 to take home art by Suzanne Northcott, Judy Nygren, Margo Harrison, and Susan Falk.
“He was not about to be out bid… such support,” said Falk.
She is the creative instigator of the Langley Rainbow Celebration Art Auction, which concluded Friday night with a wine-and-cheese reception and bidding closure at the Fort Gallery.
“Robert has always supported the arts and especially the Fort Gallery, attending many openings and events and always a huge support to artists,” Falk explained.
“He went home a very happy man [Friday], adding these works of art to his collection. He did not bid online, but saved his bidding for the wine and cheese celebration and wanted to view the paintings and enjoy the live event.”
Three years ago, Falk hosted a similar art event and silent auction to fundraise and draw awareness to a preservation effort in Glen Valley. That event was also held at The Fort Gallery with what she described as “tremendous public support.”
So, she felt “very confident that this would be a right fit.”
When she learned the installation of a rainbow crosswalk in the village would cost $12,000, she took it on as a challenge to raise money to make it possible, without the Township having to pay the bill.
Through a Facebook group, called Langley Rainbow Celebration Art Auction, participating artists posted works – from paintings to sculptures – for residents to bid on.
“[It was] a wonderful opportunity for the public to buy an original piece of art and support a symbol of inclusion and diversity,” Falk added.
She was joined on this initiative by fellow artists Suzanne Northcott, Judy Nygren, Margo Harrison, Pat Barker, Don Portelance, Beverly Lawrence, Nikol Haskova, Ela Cholewa, and Elaine Brewer White in donating art for the cause.
The auction idea worked well, Falk said, raising just over half ($6,286) the amount needed for the cost of one crosswalk.
While bidding was strong online in the days leading up to closing, the last hour is when it all seemed to heat up, Falk said.
“I would guess each painting went up another $250 at the final hour,” she added
There were nine pieces auctioned off that night, while one piece was sold before the auction.
She estimated that about 150 people came through the gallery Friday night to show their support.
“They just kept coming in like a wave all evening long, offering small donations if they were not able to join in the bidding. It was really something,” Falk said.
In addition to the $6,000 plus raised by the Langley artists, another $6,000 has been “guaranteed by an outside source – who will be officially named at the council meet on Oct. 17,” Falk said.
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Would do it again
“What would I do differently? When you see something that you feel needs to be done, like the rainbow crosswalk – because of what it stands for – we welcome all… I would do nothing differently but take a stand and be heard as all who supported this event did!” Falk said.
Asked if she would do it again, Falk replied: “Yes, but I’m really glad it’s turning out this way with our quiet fundraising so I didn’t have to parade down Glover Road and raise a little you know what.”
Rainbow crosswalk art auction by the numbers
• Ten artists
• Ten donated pieces of art
• Ten days of an online auction concluded with a three-hour on-site bidding war
• Around 30 online bidders
• About 150 people attended the closing celebration Friday at Fort Gallery
• Auction ultimately raised $4,201 towards a pride crosswalk
• A GoFundMe campaign raised a further $2,085 (so far)
• An outside source is announcing the donation of the remaining $12,000 goal