“Winnipeg is known nationally and internationally as a real hot bed of visual arts,” said Shawna Dempsey, co-director of Mentoring Artist’s for Women’s Art (MAWA). Dempsey would know; she is a well-regarded performance and video artist, who has worked alongside Lorri Millan on internationally acclaimed works.
“But the artists of Winnipeg — bless them — have really given back and donated work to MAWA, some of them year after year,” she said.
The donations Dempsey is referring to are set to be auctioned off as part of the “Over the Top Fundraiser” taking place on Sunday, March 20 from 2–5 p.m.. Even better, it promises to be an afternoon of art, paired with a serious amount of cupcakes.
“The cupcakes are out of control!” Dempsey said. “Last year, there were literally 1,000 cupcakes, so all the cupcakes you can literally eat — and more!”
MAWA openly accepts donations in a variety of media, and pieces up for auction include works by prominent local artists including Diana Thorneycroft, Sarah Anne Johnston, and Elvira Finnigan, among others.
“I think work sold last year from $50 to $75,” Dempsey said. “So there’s something for every budget”.
This fundraiser is geared to have something for everyone. It’s an opportunity to show your artwork, get raffle prizes or eat sugary goodness, all in support of what MAWA has to offer.
“It’s an opportunity for the public to see a lot of great work — really diverse work — and purchase it, and all of this benefits MAWA’s programming,” explains Dempsey. The programming Dempsey refers to includes lecture series, mentorships and other opportunities for artists to learn new skills and get involved in the community.
Elvira Finnigan is a local artist and past board member at MAWA. Many years ago she also took part in the mentorship program as a mentee.
Finnigan said, “It was really a great opportunity for someone of [Townsend’s] caliber to look at my work and point me in different directions.”
Finnigan currently does multimedia work, which she describes as “experiments.”
“Basically, I have been allowing salt brine to evaporate over objects in large bowls and taking time lapse images and these have been uploaded onto a website [Saltwatch.ca]. People can see and can follow every six minutes of what is happening on this bowl of brine, as it crystallizes and becomes quite beautiful.”
For the auction, Finnegan has donated a digital print taken from one of the still images from her salt works. It’s just one example of the variety that promises to be on display. Last year’s showcase of 120 pieces included jewelry, painting, sculpture and mixed-media works.
As an artist, Dempsey enjoys the event because “it is an opportunity to see what people are working on. Often people are putting in their new experiments, so I get to sort of peek into the studios of all my colleagues through this event.”
“And,” Dempsey said with a laugh, “It’s a fabulous party where we all come together and stuff our faces with cupcakes!”