James Quatell Ligwilda’xw Hereditary Chief with singers Shawn Decaire and William Henderson welcome the crowd to the Campbell River Art Gallery’s 2022 gala on Sept. 24. Photo contributed

James Quatell Ligwilda’xw Hereditary Chief with singers Shawn Decaire and William Henderson welcome the crowd to the Campbell River Art Gallery’s 2022 gala on Sept. 24. Photo contributed

CRAG raises almost $100,000 at first-of-a-kind glamorous art gala

The Campbell River Art Gallery’s (CRAG) bi-annual fundraising gala took a page out of the MET Gala’s playbook and held its first all-glamour fundraising event on Sept. 24.

This was also the launch of the Mulidzas – Curtis Wilson Award, upholding his legacy of excellence in the arts and commitment to community service.

The sold-out event raised funds through both a fine art auction and a silent auction that included handcrafted artisan products from around the region. Auctioned artworks included pieces by Wilson himself, which were contributed by his family, who were honoured guests at the event. Sisiutl, the last image Wilson created before he died in 2019, was one of the pieces.

Wilson was a talented artist, a Wei Wai Kum First Nation band councillor and advocate for education and reconciliation. The winner of the first award will be announced at the next gala, in 2024, and will receive a cash prize from donations made in Wilson’s name during the event.

With the title “Haute Cuisine. Haute Couture,” the event saw attendees don their finest threads and walk a red carpet flanked by North Island Cruisers’ flashiest cars at the Maritime Heritage Centre. With decor from the All in One Party Shop, flowers by Thrifty Foods, performances by CR Dance Xtreme and fine art from some of the top artists in our region, the invitation could have included “haute locale.” Guests enjoyed fine dining by Good Wife Gourmet and drinks by Wild Coast Cocktails.

The night’s program began with a welcome by James Quatell Ligwilda’xw Hereditary Chief with singers Shawn Decaire, William Henderson, Andrew Puglas, and Chris Roberts.

Sara Lopez Assu, executive director of the CRAG introduced the Curtis Wilson Award and William Henderson, Shawn Decaire, Chris Roberts, and Andrew Puglas shared a song written by Wilson. They, along with Ken Blackburn of the Campbell River Arts Council, also spoke and shared stories fondly remembering his impact on the community. The evening closed with a heated live auction, where all pieces found proud new owners.

“I’ve never felt more proud to call Campbell River home,” Assu said following the event. “This community not only showed up, but proved just how important arts and culture is to them, to this region, to our economy and identity. They acknowledged the transformational impact the CRAG is making, through both our exhibitions and public programs, and supported us in a truly incredible way.”

This event was sponsored the CRAG’s Arts Benefactors WestUrban Developments, MOSAIC, and Denise Mitchell Interiors, as well as Arts Leaders Wei Wai Kum First Nation, We Wai Kai First Nation, BC Hydro, Chan Nowosad Boates, Upland Group, Good Wife Gourmet, and Veyron Properties.

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