That is $2,000 more than last year.
This was the gala’s fourth year, but the first since being renamed in memory of Chrystal Rivet.
“It was a beautiful tribute to Chrystal … she was a big part of it,” said Mickey MacGillivray, director of education at St. Michael’s Children’s Choice daycare.
The Children’s Choice Art Gala changed its name, just days after the tragic death of Rivet in January.
Chrystal and MacGillivray worked together at St. Michael’s Children’s Choice daycare for eight years.
The gala was held last Friday evening and saw a significant increase in attendance this year, with about 300 people.
“It’s definitely up. Probably by about 100,” she said.
There were 175 pieces of artwork selected for the silent auction and another five larger pieces that were sold in a live auction.
The highest price was fetched for a metal table that Rivet’s father, Claude Rivet, had striped clean before she and her class painted the entire thing and Claude varnished it afterwards.
“It went for $1,000!” MacGillivray said.
About 15 preschools or childcare groups participated in the creation of art for this year’s gala, another number that has increased.
While some people may not be impressed at idea of a gala dedicated to the sale of the handy-work of preschoolers, the pieces are diverse in size and style. Some even use glass and jewelry, whatever the children are inspired to use.
“It’s not sit down and make the child do something – it’s about giving them the different materials that they can use to make the art themselves.”
Framing is important.
“You can have a picture on a piece of paper that’s -- you know, it’s nice –but then you through it in a frame and you give value and you give pride to that art and it totally changes that piece of art. It’s not just a piece of paper anymore. You’ve given that child something to be proud of,” MacGillivray said.
She also points out that not every piece is selected.
Another change to the gala was the presentation of an award, in addition to using the proceeds to support early childhood development programs.
“This year we wanted to give an award to somebody that is at SIAST, in the ECE (Early Childhood Education) program and that really had the qualifications and the passion that Chrystal had,” MacGillivray said.
A dedication to schooling was required as well as to working with young children.
“Because that’s what Chrystal did. Chrystal just finished her diploma two years ago and it was always about doing her best. She was working two jobs and a busy girl, but she still did her best at school.”
The recipient was Lucinda-Jo Schwab.
Last week, MacGillivray presented her with two tickets to the event and during the gala Schwab was called upon to receive the award.
This will be a yearly award, said MacGillivray, who says the importance of having passionate childcare workers is vital.
“Early childhood educators have an important job and we want everybody to know that,” she said.
“We have these children right from … three, four, five-months-old and as an early childhood educator, you spend more time with these children than some parents do, because work keeps them away from their children for eight hours,” MacGillivray said.
“You’re with them all the time. What you do with these children has a huge impact on their life. So it’s an important job,” MacGillivray said.
“You can have a picture on a piece of paper that’s -- you know, it’s nice –but then you through it in a frame and you give value and you give pride to that art and it totally changes that piece of art." - Mickey MacGillivray
In the fall, they will also begin an ECE award with similar parameters, in memory of Rivet.
The importance of the arts in the lives of young children is valuable not only for their creative selves but for their development as confident, decision making individuals.
“Whether it’s their fingers in the paint and letting them be free or making these huge elaborate pieces of art, you’re just letting them be, you’re not telling them you have to put this here and this here and this here. You’re letting them make choices as young as three, four, six-months-old, you’re letting them make that choice and not guiding their every move.
“You’re letting them have that choice and that’s so important for kids, to know that you value their decisions even at that young of an age.”
Rivet has left a legacy in the determination of the people who knew her and are not allowing her memory, or the things she believed in, wane.
“Chrystal had a huge love for art,” MacGillivray said.
“She would spend, her and her kids in her room, would spend a month making one piece of art, because they would just add so many steps. It started out with paint and then they added drywall mud, jewelry and then it was painted again and then hair-sprayed. It was just one step after another and it was all about the kids. Whatever they wanted to do, with the help of Chrystal, and it turned out beautiful.”