Over the past 15 years, the downtown Fredericton restaurant’s art auctions have raised $230,000 for local youth focused programs.
The walls of Isaac’s Way Restaurant are filled with imagination. Long before relocating to Queen Street following a devastating fire that destroyed the restaurant’s original Carleton Street location, Isaac’s Way has been supporting artists and the community through its ongoing art auction series.
“Since we moved to Queen Street after the fire, our art auction has got a lot more attention,” said co-owner Tabatha Smith.
Designed primarily as a way to support a number of community organizations and initiatives focused on visual art, theatre, music and dance, the art auctions have been a regular part of the restaurant’s operations since 2007 involving the work of over 150 artists.
“This project was born out of the fact that we wanted to be a member of our community but when we were a young business we just didn’t have the financial means to do so,” said Smith. “It’s just grown over the years and we’ve now raised nearly $230,000 for kids in our community.”
Each auction includes upwards of 70 pieces of original art created by New Brunswick artists. Customers can bid on their favourite pieces which typically range from paintings and drawings to photography and mixed medium work, with the proceeds from each sale split between the artist and various supporting projects.
“The majority of our auctions give 50% of the total sale to the artist and 50% to the charity focus of the auction,” said Smith. “Isaac’s Way doesn’t keep any of the money. We provide the walls and a little bit of sweat. That’s about it.”
Through these auctions, Isaac’s Way has directly helped local children and youth take part in programs offered through organizations like Theatre New Brunswick, Bonnie Kilburn Dance, the Calithumpians, X-treme Dance Studio, as well as many private instruction programs in music and art.
“Our goal is to help the children of low income households experience the arts and we are very open to making that happen with whoever wants to partner with us to do it,” she said. “As an example, we’ve given grants to the Charlotte Street Arts Centre to get an art program started there. We get referred through teachers, social workers, other local organizations and sometimes the teachers themselves approach us saying they know a family that could fit the criteria of the program. We deal with everything on a case by case basis.”
The restaurant is now running its 40th art auction with funds raised going to support various music programs throughout the city. All the works of art included in the current series can be viewed online through either the restaurant’s website or Facebook page or in person at 649 Queen Street. Bids can be placed by email, through Facebook messages, or in person.
Isaac’s Way’s 40th art auction runs until Sunday March 28 when the bidding closes at 9 p.m.