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MacLaren Art Centre set to host annual Off the Hook: Silent Art Auction

The event, which is Nov. 15, will bring in over 200 pieces of artwork by more than 100 artists from across the province
Off the Hook: Silent Art Auction at the MacLaren Art Centre. Photo by Andre Beneteau

On Nov. 15 at the MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie, 200+ artworks by more than 100 artists from across Ontario will fill the galleries for the 29th annual Off the Hook: Silent Art Auction.

This highly anticipated fundraising event offers everyone the opportunity to bid on and take home original artwork as well as a wealth of “Great Finds” donated by local retailers. $50 tickets include tasty hors-d'oeuvres and desserts by Cravings, Michael & Marion's, The Farmhouse and Holly’s Sweets & Eats.

In addition to supporting local artistic expression, this year's silent auction asks everyone involved to reflect on the importance of water in their daily lives. The water theme will be brought to life through inspired catering and prizes, a special live auction featuring five prestigious works and an introduction to the artists involved in the Simcoe Watershed Art Project. On top of that, Flow Water is providing their alkaline spring water for the entire event.

For the first time ever, Off the Hook will have a special buy it now option for those who don’t want to risk being outbid on auction night. During the public preview from Nov. 9 to 15 during gallery hours, visitors may purchase an artwork at full value and receive a complimentary ticket to the event.

A free, guided tour of the art auction highlights will be offered on Wednesday, Nov. 13 from 6 p.m. to 7 pm. Visitors can generate their watchlist and gain an insider’s guide to auction highlights from MacLaren Senior Curator Emily McKibbon, Kalaman+Demetriou Art Consultant and Collector Carol Ann Ryan and Artist/Curator Jill Price.

Artists featured in the Live Auction include: Frances Cockburn, Erika DeFreitas, Yam Lau, Sue Miller and Bewabon Shilling. Selected for their continued exploration of water in their practices, these artists have contributed special works in support of the 2019 water theme. The Live Auction will begin at 8 pm on the night of the event and is open to all guests.

Other artists who have generously contributed artworks to this year’s auction include: Robert Achtemichuk, Peter Adams, Matt Bahen, Therese Bolliger, Pauline Bradshaw, Jason Brown, Marlene Bulas, Stephen Cruise, Tanya Cunnington, Cathy Daley, Laura Dawe, Gary Evans, Michael Farnan, Nahúm Flores, Tori Foster, Midori Fullerton, James Gillespie, John Gould, Sadko Hadzihasanovic, April Hickox, Janet Jones, Gita Karklins, Ila Kellermann, Nancy Kembry, Joan LeBoeuf, Jeanette Luchese, Tim Laurin, Christina Luck, Virginia Mak, Robert Marchessault, Ilyana Martinez, Claudia Mandler McKnight, Charles Meanwell, Laura Moore, Marlene Hilton Moore, Stu Oxley, Rod Prouse, Mike Pszczonak, Milena Roglic, Cheryl Ruddock, Scott Sawtell, Ron Shuebrook, Ryan Sobkovich, Derek Sullivan, M.J. Steenberg, Amy Switzer, Frances Thomas, Alice Teichert, Julia Vandepolder, Regina Williams, Olexander Wlasenko and many more.

In describing why the water theme was selected for this year’s art auction, lead event coordinator Jill Price said:

Knowing all that has been going on with the lack of clean water in First Nations communities, the volume of water bottles that pollute the earth, Nestle draining the water table while many farmers suffer drought, rising water levels because of global warming, I couldn’t help but think how vital this resource is to every aspect of our lives, including the lives of artists.

Many artists in this region are drawn to the subject of water, capturing the geography and ecology of Kempenfelt Bay, Georgian Bay and Lake Couchiching, among other water bodies. While not all works in the auction depict water in a literal way, if you look more deeply into the materials, processes and imagery of each work, you will find that none would exist without water.

All of the artworks in the auction are on display in the free preview at the MacLaren from Nov. 9 to 15, 2019. Auction tickets are $50 each and can be purchased online or at the MacLaren front desk. For more information call 705-721-9696 or visit

The MacLaren gratefully acknowledges the art auction sponsors for their continued support of this event: TD Wealth Kempenfelt Asset Management Group, Barriston Law and the Downtown Barrie Business Association.