The Sweetest Little Thing celebrates 25th anniversary

08 Feb 2024
Community event and art auction fundraiser supports the Owens Art Gallery and Struts Gallery

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Owens Art Gallery and Struts Gallery’s flagship fundraising event The Sweetest Little Thing — held annually at the Owens Art Gallery on Valentine’s Day — Wednesday, February 14. Last year, the event raised more than $18,000 to support programming at both galleries.

“This event is about coming together, being part of a community, and celebrating the art, which is the focus of the event. It’s also the main fundraiser for both the Owens, a university/public art gallery, and Struts, an artist-run centre, which is unusual,” says Owens Art Gallery Director/Curator Emily Falvey.  

The Sweetest Little Thing art auction was fully online in 2021 and 2022, due to the pandemic, and returned to an in-person celebration last year. The art auction is now open for bidding online until 10 p.m. (AST) on February 14. The artwork has been submitted by artists across Canada and beyond. An exhibition of the work is now on display at the Owens Art Gallery.  

“All the donated artwork is small art, which gives the artists the opportunity to create something fun they might not otherwise do, without having to give away larger pieces,” says Falvey.

The Sweetest Little Thing has been reimagined this year and the all-ages event boasts new features, including Karaoke, a scavenger hunt for kids, a raffle for an epic Cranewood cake and other prize packs, and the inaugural performance of Pie vs Pie, which is a showdown of two Sackville arts-scene staples John Murchie and Amy Siegel, with the result being one of them getting a pie in the face. There will also be old favourites such as the Polaroid Instant Lovin’ Photobooth and the best dressed competition. Event emcees are local journalist Tori Weldon and fourth-year student Quinn Waylaing.

“There’s always a best dressed judge, so folks are encouraged to come dressed up to the nines,” says Falvey. “Sometimes there are more creative outfits and the winner gets flowers and bragging rights.”

The heart of The Sweetest Little Thing — the art auction — is now open for bidding. The event is pay-what-you-can. Masks are encouraged. Extra-special pink, magenta, and red KN95 masks will be available for free in both child and adult sizes.

This year’s The Sweetest Little Thing poster and graphics were created by Fine Arts student Kaya Panthier.  

Check out the throwback to past The Sweetest Little Thing events dating back to 2008 in the video scrapbook.

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