At the height of last spring’s Covid quarantine, artists from around the DMV came together to host an online auction to raise funds for Martha’s Table, a local organization providing relief to people in need during the pandemic.
The auction, a unique collaboration orchestrated entirely over social media, was an immediate response from D.C.-area artists to give back to their community. Featuring works from a diverse range of visual artists whose practices included street art, sociopolitical folk art, activist prints, photography, illustration and sculpture, “Bid to Fight Covid” was also a successful way to support artists during a time when art and exhibition spaces were shut down. Absurdly Well’s guerilla-style wheat pasting and auctioneer Maps Glover’s one-of-a-kind persona encouraged the sale of 19 of 21 auction lots, and raised more than $6,000.
With many still struggling a year into pandemic life, Art Shopping Network has brought “Bid to Fight Covid” (#bid2fightcovid) back. The second installment, which airs live on March 13, features works by both new and returning artists from D.C., Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
This year’s auction is again aimed at both providing platforms for artists to connect with would-be patrons, and for the creative community to engage with and give back to the broader communities who have supported them over the years. Sixty percent of this year’s auction proceeds will go to the exhibiting artists, with 40% donated to non-profit organizations including 412 Food Rescue, D.C. Arts Center, Fund for Advancement of Minorities through Education and Martha’s Table. Maps Glover will be back with the gavel.
Art Shopping Network founder Maxwell Young, who helped to bring last year’s event to life, has stressed “the economic stimulation needed to buoy creative practices during the current tumult,” and sees “Bid to Fight Covid” as an opportunity to “measure and make sense of our collective pandemic experience, our humanity’s state at the beginning of a new decade.”
Cultures throughout history have depended and continue to depend on artists from all disciplines to serve as guides through periods of strife and progress alike, to hold mirrors to society and to remind us of what makes us unique and what we share. Artists provide an irreproducible service when they make their work visible to the world. Here in D.C., we are doubly fortunate to live among talented local artists in a city that also draws creators from all around the nation and world.
“Bid to Fight Covid II” brings together artists from all stages of their careers and a broad range of disciplines representing the diversity of cultural perspectives, including Esteban Whiteside, printmaker Quaishawn Whitlock, performance artists Yacine Fall and Sherman Fleming, color field practitioner Taryn Harris, Capitol Hill photographer turned insurrection chronicler Luke Piotrowski, street artist Divorce Culture and muralists Rose Jaffe and Ashley Jaye Williams, among others.
Works up for auction include a cadre of paintings, prints, photographs, illustrations and sculptures intended to appeal to a spectrum of aesthetic tastes and a variety of bidders. Williams, who creates digital illustration, murals and installation art, illustrated Washington City Paper‘s October cover, and is one of the new additions to this year’s auction roster.
“My husband and fellow artist, Anthony Le, and I are thrilled to be part of the auction and to support these crucial nonprofits. This pandemic has taken a toll on everyone including artists, so this artist-led initiative gives us some energy and hope. It’s exciting to see the auction grow and branch out to more cities and the diversity of artists this brings,” she says.
“Bid to Fight Covid II” is on Saturday, March 13, from 6-10pm EST via Livestream broadcast. Interested buyers can register in advance to bid on auction lots during the event. Learn more about the online auction at www.artshoppingnetwork.com or @artshoppingnetwork on Instagram.
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