DISCOVER DAWSON Dawson College, News for the Community.

May 2008 Vol. 3 No. 5

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There was a buzz in the room from the moment the artists made their way to their easels. Not only was this the 10th anniversary edition of the event, the evening was made even more special with the arrival of Montreal Canadiens General Manager Bob Gainey, his daughter Anna, and her husband Tom Pitfield.

The Gainey family was in attendance because the proceeds of the evening’s auction would go to the Foundation established in memory of Mrs. Cathy Gainey, who passed away in 1995, and Laura Gainey, who was lost at sea in December 2006.

Starting at precisely 6 p.m. 24 artists from the Illustration & Design and Fine Arts programs began painting their canvases. For the next two hours, ideas came to life before the record crowd.

There had been some worry because the Habs were playing in Montreal that night, but the game did not affect attendance. The element of surprise and gratitude peaked when Bob Gainey entered the room, as everyone knew he probably needed to be somewhere else. He stayed for 40 minutes, chatting with the artists, other students, parents and employees of the College, before heading off to the Bell Centre.

Anna stayed at the event and spoke briefly before the auction, telling everyone that the Gainey Foundation was honoured to be a part of Artists in Bloom and that her sister Laura, who was an artist herself, would have thoroughly enjoyed the event. Anna, who runs the day-to-day operation of the Foundation, encouraged all the artists to apply for grants through the Foundation to further their artistic pursuits. The website address is

Buoyed by the words of appreciation from the Gaineys and the high quality of the paintings themselves, the large crowd did not have to be prodded to bid. Auctioneer Rob Lurie, CTV news reporter, had several bidding wars on his hands throughout the evening that he handled with his usual dose of humour. The paintings covered a wide variety of subjects from landscapes to animals to abstracts to portraits. There was something for all tastes. By the end of the night, when all 24 paintings had been auctioned off, the tally of receipts for the evening came to $7,600.

Artists in Bloom was launched 10 years ago by Dawson’s student ambassadors, the Blue Ring Society, and has raised nearly $40,000 for different charities. In the past, funds have been donated to the Montreal General Trauma Unit, St. Mary’s Hospital and Cedars-Sinai. It was once again a very successful event that has people coming back year after year to support worthy causes and to marvel at the immense talent of Dawson’s young artists.

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