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TimeRaisers 2009: The one that got away

It was a busy, busy weekend, including a brief trip to Montreal, the TimeRaisers event on Saturday night, and the Vintage Clothing Sale on Sunday, with knitting, novel-writing, novel-reading and breakfast eating crammed into random little pockets of time.

TimeRaiser was even better this year than last, because they simplified and streamlined the whole thing. It’s an art auction, but you bid volunteer hours instead of money. Every piece of art sold for the maximum bid (75 to 125 volunteer hours).

Cops at Night by Shaan Syed

Cops at Night by Shaan Syed

I bid on three pieces, but there was one in particular that grabbed my attention. It was a small oil painting by Shaan Syed, entitled Cops at Night, depicting a mob of cops in action.

There was a young couple also very interested in the same piece. After the bidding ended, I asked them what their interest in it was. It turns out that he is a criminal defense lawyer, and he wanted to hang it in his office; he thought some of his clients might be able to relate to it. They asked me what my interest was, and I told them I’d blogged about an incident last year, and this piece reminded me of it.

“Was that on Bank Street, outside Hartman’s?” asked the young woman. It turned out she’d read it!

Anyway, we chatted about power imbalances and police brutality and how the fact that we’re all carrying cameras and video recording devices might be helping to keep bad cops more in check than they would be otherwise. We exchanged business cards, in case I ever need a lawyer, or they ever need a blogger.

We agreed that this particular work of art probably appealed to a limited number of people, but those who wanted it wanted it a lot, and for the right reasons. There were only four bidders on it. The way it works is that if multiple bidders on a piece are willing to bid the maximum number of volunteer hours (in this case, 75), one of them is drawn at random. In our case, the lawyer and I each had a 25% chance of winning it. I would have been almost as happy if he had won it. As it turned out, neither of us did. I know nothing about Christine, the woman who won, but maybe she had a good reason for wanting it too.

GC's Winning Art from 2008 TimeRaisers

GC's Winning Art from 2008 TimeRaisers

GC was one of several people who received his winning art from last year at this event. He had to go up on stage for a presentation by CBC’s Amanda Putz. His piece is quite impressive: It’s a large night scene, with a hockey net way at the other end of a frozen pond. And because the event was held at the National Gallery (a last minute shift from the War Museum, out of respect for the striking workers there), GC can now say he owns a piece of art that hung at the National Gallery of Canada. He put in 185 hours of volunteer work at the Shepherds of Good Hope for this piece.

Speaking of the Shepherds, we ran into Ann MacDonald, the Shepherds’ volunteer coordinator, at the TimeRaisers event, and she told me that they’d printed and blown up this blog post and put it up on their bulletin boards. I liked that!

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