Artists auction off work for rainbow crosswalk

The Langley Rainbow Celebration Art Auction ends Oct. 7 with a gathering at the Fort Gallery

'The White Vase' by Don Portelance is one of several pieces of art being auctioned off in the Langley Rainbow Celebration Art Auction on Facebook. Valued at $425, the money raised from the sale of this watercolour will go towards painting a rainbow crosswalk in Fort Langley.

A group of 10 artists are selling some of their prized paintings online to raise money for a rainbow crosswalk in Fort Langley.

The “Langley Rainbow Celebration Art Auction” is live on Facebook now, and will end on Friday, Oct. 7 at 10 p.m., with final bids occurring both online and in person during a Rainbow Celebration at the Fort Gallery.

On from 7 to 10 p.m., the public is invited to come out to the celebration, enjoy wine and cheese, and meet all of the participating artists, who will be in attendance with their pieces for the final bid.

The initiative was spearheaded by Fort Langley artist Elaine Brewer-White, who approached Langley Township council in July to ask for permission to paint a rainbow crosswalk with a group of volunteers at the intersection of Glover Road and Mavis Avenue.

The idea, meant to demonstrate inclusivity, was inspired by the the June 12 massacre of 49 people inside a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., and would see the Township join a growing list of communities in B.C. that have already installed versions of their own, including Vancouver, Maple Ridge, Victoria, Nanaimo, Kelowna and Castlegar.

Earlier in September, Township staff came back to council with a report estimating it would cost $50,000 for the installation — which would require all four walkways in the intersection to be painted — with further costs of $50,000 every three to five years for maintenance. It would cost $12,000 to paint a smaller crosswalk further up Glover Road near Mary Avenue.

Outraged, Brewer-White vowed to raise the money herself, and started a GoFundMe page, along with an online auction of her sculpture, “Harry was a dog lover at heart,” with the hope that the funding will be enough for council to give the project the green light.

Now local artists Susan J. Falk, Judy Nygren, Margo Harrison, Don Portelance, Beverly Lawrence, Pat Barker, Suzanne Northcott, Nikol Haskova and Ela Cholewa have joined in, and are offering up their artwork for auction — some of which is worth thousands of dollars.

“I thought it was a really wonderful idea,” said Falk.

“It’s just jumping on board and making a very kind statement — and that’s what it is — making a gentle, kind statement saying that we embrace all in Langley, too.”

Falk put the call out to several local artists, who all said it was a “no-brainer,” to get involved, including Portelance and Zuzana Vasko, who are allowing the group to take over the Fort Gallery and host the Rainbow Celebration during their own art show, Precarious Spaces.

Once the money has been raised, Brewer-White plans to make another presentation to Township council.

To participate in the online auction, join the group “Langley Rainbow Celebration Art Auction” on Facebook, find the artwork you wish to purchase, and bid in the comments section below.

The Rainbow Celebration at the Fort Gallery, 9048 Glover Rd., is free to attend. No preregistration is required.

From Top: Some of the artwork being auctioned off include “Blue Nest” by Suzanne Northcott (valued at $4,000), “Pond Reflection #4” by Susan Falk (valued at $2,800) and “Decaying Totems on Haida Gwaii” by Margo Harrison (valued at $500).

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