Evan’s Corner: Artists and the bushfires

Written by: Evan Lowenstein
Finally, as the horrific summer 2019/20 season of bushfires comes to an end, with the benefit of hindsight we are able to observe the aftermath of the disaster that has befallen our nation.
We can now survey the scene and perhaps learn lessons from this catastrophe.
Like most events that affect the nation as a whole, the arts community was also seriously affected.
As so many of our arts practitioners have chosen a country life style, they were also affected by the loss of property, housing and studios both for storage and work.
The arts community has been united in their grief and many artists have been at the forefront of fund raising for the benefit of those communities ravaged by the fires that tore through vast areas of the NSW South Coast, Gippsland and the high country region of Victoria.
The HOME bushfire relief art fundraiser that raised around $220,000 took place in the grounds of the National Art School in East Sydney with around 1000 people attending.
The Margaret Lawrence Gallery, part of the Victorian College of the Arts (University of Melbourne) held an online auction which was also very successful and attracted bidding from lots of people. It raised more than $100,000 to benefit recovery charities, Wildlife Victoria and the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.
In addition to these major fundraising events, artists have also been at the forefront of raising consciousness about the effect s of climate change on the environment. There have already been many manifestations by artists responding to this climate change with many shows and works of art being produced that reflect their responses. It has ranged from mainstream artists to the disruptive RISE Bushfire art exhibition where over a hundred well-known artists used charcoal from the bushfire grounds to produce works.
Lowensteins has also been active in its assistance to these causes, making substantial cash donations and giving advice provided pro bono to the organisers of some of the fundraising auctions and sales.
Our hearts go out to those affected and will continue to we offer our assistance in any way we can.