Published: April 2, 2014 (Issue # 1804)
On Mar. 25, paintings by non-professional artists including local politicians, businessmen, sportsmen and actors were auctioned off at a special event held at the Hotel Astoria to raise funds for three local girls in need of expensive medical treatment. The auction was the final part of the Paintings by Outstanding People fund-raising initiative, which was supported by the city administration, local UNESCO chapters and the Gaudeamus charity foundation for youth.
The event raised about 400,000 rubles ($11,300), which will be donated to the families of the girls — Marina Zyazina, 10, Masha Brushneva, 7,
and Olga Evkaykina, 13. “Marina cannot walk or sit due to a medical condition and needs care and medical equipment,” said her mother Natalya Zyazina who was present at the
The most expensive lots, which sold for 26,000 ($729) and 28,000 rubles ($785), were created by the musical actors Ivan Ozhogin and Svetlana Vilhelm-Plashevskaya. Both artists perform the main roles in the new 3D-musical “Pola Negri” and also presented a few songs following the auction proper. Alexander Parkhomenko, the Chief of the Committee for Youth Politics for the St. Petersburg City Administration, presented three paintings at the auction that were sold at a combined price of 20,000 rubles ($561). Some of the other top-selling lots priced at up to 25,000 rubles ($711), belonged to Consul General of India in St. Petersburg Vishvas Sapkal, radio personality Alisa Sher, the actors Boris Smolkin and Ivan Krasko, singer Natalya Udalova and Olympic figure-skating champion Yelena Berezhnaya. However, the artwork on sale was not only created by amateur artists. Well-known Russian artists such as Anatoly Annenkov, Daniyar Baybulatov and Alexander Kravchuk presented their work as a gift to the project. Kirill Ovchinnikova, a local fashion designer, also participated by offering some of his hand-made handkerchiefs at the event in Astoria in a special lot that was sold at 51,000 rubles ($1451). The most active buyers included businessmen from St. Petersburg and Moscow and local city politicians.
“This was a pilot project, and we are happy that this auction has had a clear-cut outcome, and that we are now able to help the girls,” said Natalya Kovaleva, the initiator and director of the project. “Charitable traditions and ideas should enter all spheres of life including that of government, business and private individuals. By attracting local celebrities we hope to raise awareness of those in need.”
The project Paintings by Outstanding People began in June 2013 when politicians, businessmen and artists created paintings in a public park in St. Petersburg. The second and the third parts of the project attracted new participants in February of this year. According to Kovaleva, the organizers are planning to revise the project and launch a similar event on June 1, which is International Children’s Day.