Cézanne's Closet raises money for Union Gallery

Silent auction collects thousands of dollars through tickets, artwork

Attendees had the chance to meet the artist's behind the selection.

Union Gallery supporters gathered in Ban Righ Hall on Saturday night to make bids on a silent auction of student and community-created artwork.

Beginning in 1994, Cézanne’s Closet presents an annual student-driven fundraiser for the Union Gallery. In the past, the event has allowed the gallery to expand its hours and operations on top of its regular funding. 

For $150 ticket, a fundraiser guest has the change to take home a piece of art and participate in the auction, where bids can go as high as $250. This year’s event sold over 20 tickets, pulling in over $3,000 from these ticket sales alone.

“The Union Gallery is our gallery, a student gallery. This is the biggest preview of what the Union Gallery can do,” event Co-Chair Sonya Fesiak said. She added that the event serves as a reminder of the gallery’s services and continued support on campus.

Besides the fundraising, Fesiak said Cezanne’s Closet also gives student artists a dry run in sharing their artistic talents with the Kingston community.

“It’s a good way to help students that are learning and developing, It’s a good learning experience too: this is how you apply to a show. This is what being an artist is about,” she said.

Faculty members, like Fine Arts Professor Kevin Rodgers, are given a similarly unique opportunity to contribute their work to the event.

“It’s great to see such a broad array of work and come out and support an event like this,” Rodgers said.

“I remember as a student going to events like this, even though I didn’t go to Queens when I was in undergrad. I remember how important these were just in your development as an artist. But also getting [the chance] to know others in the community.”

Despite the event being largely student-driven, Fesiak also said she was surprised to see such a large interest among the Kingston arts community on Saturday.

Attendees previewed this art in the first stages of the event, picking out their favourites as a jazz band played off to the side.

The supporters also had the opportunity to contact the various artists, through each piece’s accompanying information or even some of the artists’ attendance at the event.

Co-Chair Candice Cavanagh said this allowed for the unique chance to connect with the artists behind the night’s selection.

“I hope that whoever wins whichever piece of art makes an effort to speak to the artist. I hope they get a chance to talk to them and engage,” she said as she explained the show allowed for the rare opportunity for buyers to talk to the works’ creators.

Afterwards, professors Jen Kennedy and Johanna Amos took a creative approach to their roles as MCs — the two dressed up as artists Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick, respectively.

The costumes — along with a performance from acapella group All The Queen’s Men — proved to be a hit with the audience and added some levity to the fundraiser.

Meanwhile, Fesiak hopes the annual event helps continue the trend of community support for the arts.

“My hope is that people who purchased tickets or attended the event continue to support the arts. It’s really good to see a lot of people support students,” she said.

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