‘Fox is love’: Richmond community comes together for fundraiser art auction

Guests bid on art to help raise funds for William Fox Elementary School on March 18. Photo by Kaitlyn Fulmore

Gabriela de Camargo Gonçalves, Spectrum Editor

The William Fox Elementary School PTA organized an art auction on Friday to raise funds for the school following a three-alarm fire that occurred last month, causing significant structural damage.

The live auction of art totaled $60,850, along with 39 donations for non-art related auction items, and a “call to heart” donation period in which 28 people donated any amount between $50 to $1,000. The event also included a silent auction.

PTA president-elect Amelia Boschen said the PTA sold more than 200 tickets for the event. Attendees walked around the silent auction, pointing and taking note of the artists. 

Boschen said it’s a long-standing tradition for Fox to organize its annual art auction, but it hadn’t happened in two years because of COVID-19. However, after the generosity of donations from the artists and Fox’s needs after the fire, the PTA put on the auction, according to Boschen.

“I think for sure we’re really devastated by the loss,” Boschen said. “But we also are really motivated to stay together as a community to support each other and make sure that all of our special traditions, and, the loving community that we are, is able to continue even during this time.”

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery donated its family-friendly venue for the art auction, along with catering from its pizza kitchen, according to Hardywood’s event director Catherine Poston.

Artist Ed Trask, a former Fox parent, offered to donate pieces for a fundraiser and encouraged the PTA to “take advantage” of the artists’ generosity and put together the art auction, according to Boschen.

“Fox is family, Fox is love, Fox is light,” Trask said as he kicked off the live auction. “To all the teachers and the people there: we are here for you, and Fox is going to survive.”

The art auction included a selection of items that were a part of live or silent auctions according to the auction’s website

Miguel Carter-Fisher, a participating artist and former VCUarts faculty, said he was interested in participating because he grew up in The Fan area of Richmond and attended Fox Elementary.

He donated five pieces for the silent auction that include some kind of connection to his childhood in Richmond, like Belle Isle and William Byrd Park. 

“It is important the demonstration of people’s coming together as a community, and I think it’s cool that the arts, that painting, can be a part of that,” Carter-Fisher said. “It’s financial support, but it’s also positive community engagement.”

Lucy Leake, a Museum District native, said in light of having to rebuild the school, efforts need to be made to preserve the building’s history while also being better equipped for the children. 

“I think what brought me here mainly was I wanted to support the teachers and the children that are presently at the school,” Leake said. “But also in memory of children who have gone there because it’s just been a staple in the neighborhood in a very positive way for decades. My older brother and sister went to Fox.”

Lucy Leake bids on “She Trusted Her Intuition” by Frankie Slaughter. Photo by Kaitlyn Fulmore

Art consultant Michaeline Sander said she went to the auction in support of her nephews who attend Fox.

“I think it’s really beautiful how everyone is coming together and all these artists are donating their time and their work,” Sander said.

Michaeline Sander (right) attends the art auction in support of her nephews with her sister, Chantal Sander (left). Photo by Kaitlyn Fulmore

Fox Elementary Principal Daniela Jacobs spoke to the attendees, calling for donations in the middle of the live auction. Jacobs smiled as she said “our kids are coming back.” Fox students started their schooling at First Baptist Church on Monday, March 21.

“Tragedy did not strike Fox’s heart,” Jacobs said.


Live auction pieces sold:

  • “Popsicles” by Greg Holzgrefe. Market value: $2,800. Sold for $1,800.
  • “Fort” by Matt Lively. Market value: $950. Sold for $850.
  • “Plant Power” by Steve Hedberg. Market value: $800. Sold for $2,500.
  • “Heartfelt” by Courtney Sievers. Market value: $1,600. Sold for $1,550.
  • “Tadpole Dreams” by Wolfgang Jasper. Market value: $500. Sold for: $450.
  • “Handful of Hope” by Jennifer Holloway Bopst. Market value: $1,200. Sold for $2,600.
  • “Sparks” by Titus Marques. Market value: $1,200. Sold for $1,700.
  • “Winter Waves” by Barry Purcell. Market value: $3,000. Sold for $2,250.
  • “From the Streets of Paris, 2009” by Chuck Scalin. Market value: $750. Sold for $800.
  • “Touch of Time” by Jonathan Lee. Market value: $2,500. Sold for $850.
  • “She Trusted Her Intuition” by Frankie Slaughter. Market value: $2,500. Sold for $2,250.
  • “Untitled” by Chris Milk. Market value: $1,200. Sold for $1,300.
  • “Keep lookin back” by Ron Johnson. Market value: $1,900. Sold for $5,250.
  • “Composition #80” by Diego Sanchez. Market value: $450. Sold for $3,300.
  • “PsHBBBBT” by Heide Trepanier. Market value: $7,000. Sold for $10,000.
  • “Fox is Love” by Hamilton Glass. Sold for $2,100.
  • “Memories of Fox” by Laura Loe. Market value: $4,200. Sold for $12,000.
  • “An Early Evening Storm Over Westhampton Lake” by Ed Trask. Sold for $11,000.

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