• By: OLM Staff

The Ottawa Art Gallery’s annual art auction fundraiser goes virtual

Visit the OAG to see the exhibited art: December 5 to the 18, Alma Duncan Salon (OAG), 10 Daly Avenue, Ottawa
Bidding Dates: December 12 to 18 through Bid Beacon
Tickets: $35 to access the Bid Beacon mobile auction app


For more than 20 years, the Ottawa Art Gallery has hosted its signature fundraiser LE PARTY, highlighting artists of the Ottawa-Gatineau region with the sale of their wide-ranging works through a renowned silent auction and bustling cocktail soirée.

Since 2018, LE PARTY has also helped showcase OAG’s new, 55- thousand square foot home in the heart of Ottawa’s downtown core—a community arts hub that is both inspiring in spirit as it is in its architectural footprint. Funds raised go to support public programming and exhibitions, and help keep Ottawa’s official municipal gallery free and accessible to all who come through its doors. 

Every year, more than 55 regional, emerging, established and senior artists donate pieces to the auction, receiving fifty percent of the sale proceeds in return. With five-hundred people in attendance, it’s easy to see why artists and patrons flock to take part. 

So, how does an established crowd-pleasing event manage in the midst of a pandemic? With a veritable ban on the mingling of guests indoors, this year’s event, Give To Get Art: OAG’s Art Auction, originally set for May 29, was suspended indefinitely after the Gallery temporarily closed its doors on March 13, 2020. As weeks of quarantine turned to months, the OAG, who officially re-opened its doors to the public by appointment only, as of July 8, has shifted its approach to their iconic fundraiser. “The event is going virtual,” says Taline Jirian, OAG’s Deputy Director, Marketing and Development. “The auction will be more accessible than it has ever been in terms of access to the art, and the time it takes to decide on the piece or pieces that you’d like to purchase.”

With no physical gathering happening this year, the price of admission—or in this case, the price to participate in the virtual bidding—is reduced, making it easier for more people to participate. “Even if you don’t bid on anything at all, the tax receipt-able fee of $35, as opposed to between $100 and $150 of previous years, will still go toward supporting the Gallery. Our hope is that we see all our supporters participate virtually in backing the OAG like never before—you can make an impact on the Gallery simply by buying a bidding ticket and coming by to see the incredibly talented artists of our region. We’re embracing a new way forward, while continuing to engage our supporters and to do the work we are here to do,” says Jirian. 

The art will be accessible to view in-person starting one week prior to bidding, from December 5 to 18 in the Alma Duncan Salon. Visitors can roam freely through the exhibition on days the Gallery is open to the public. Artwork can also be viewed on the OAG website. By purchasing a ticket, individuals will have access to bidding on the works of their choice, from December 12 to December 18, through Bid Beacon, a mobile auction app that lets participants monitor and manage their bids from anywhere, at any time.

“We were moving towards using virtual bidding at this year’s live event—it was our year to push this experience forward,” says Jirian. “The pandemic added a definite twist to our plans, but we see this as a new and exciting opportunity to engage our audience, and to invite them to experience things a little differently. In the end, what’s important is continuing the work of exposing the art and artists of this region, and to generate the much needed support that the Gallery requires to be the most vital visual arts institution in Ottawa.”