Arts Umbrella Splash Art Auction

Arts Umbrella students (Photo credit: Michael San Felipe)

Arts Umbrella, a national non-profit organization that provides arts education for young people, recently celebrated the 41st edition of its Splash Art Auction.

The auction, presented by Nicola Wealth, took place on October 21 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and raised $1.8 million. These funds will play a role in supporting scholarships, bursaries, and programming, as well as ensuring access to high-quality arts education for children and youth in Metro Vancouver and across the country.

Paul Larocque, Tom Ferries (Photo credit: Jamie-Lee Fuoco)

The 2023 Splash Art Auction event achieved a significant milestone as it welcomed over 600 guests, setting a new record for the highest attendance at an Arts Umbrella fundraiser to date.


The event saw luminaries from the art world, including celebrated Splash artists like Lauren Brevner, James Harry (Nexw’Kalus), Bobbie Burgers, Russna Kaur, Marie Khouri, and Scott Sueme.

Fred Lee, Gloria Macarenko (Photo credit: Michael San Felipe)

Guests, such as Arts Umbrella co-founder and honorary chair Carol Henriquez, Nicola Wealth president and Arts Umbrella Foundation chair David Sung, and Nicola Wealth Chairman & CEO John Nicola were in attendance. Philanthropists Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa were also present and recognized for their $2 million gift from the Audain Foundation. This generous contribution will be established as a permanent endowment in the Arts Umbrella Foundation, further enhancing its support for access to the arts.

Paul Larocque, Fred Lee, David Sung, Tassan Sung, Bruce Munro Wright, Christie Garofalo, Gloria Macarenko, Tom Ferries (Photo credit: Michael San Felipe)

This year’s event was hosted by Gloria Macarenko and Fred Lee and featured entertainment, student performances, and a curated art auction featuring 96 artworks contributed by artists such as Rebecca Belmore, Edward Burtynsky, Douglas Coupland, Stan Douglas, Wanda Koop, Elizabeth McIntosh, and more.

A new feature this year was an art-inspired Fashion Moment in partnership with Holt Renfrew and Kelly Streit of Mode Models International, featuring top model Heather Marks.

Christie Garofalo, David Garofalo, Gloria Macarenko, Marie Khouri, Fred Lee, Paul Larocque, Carol Henriquez (Photo credit: Michael San Felipe)

Since its establishment in 1982, Splash has consistently upheld the belief that art serves as a powerful catalyst for fostering positive changes in the lives of children. It imparts valuable qualities such as self-confidence, empathy, and creative expression. The commitment to Arts Umbrella’s mission is exemplified by the unwavering dedication of its long-time supporters and co-chairs, Christie Garofalo and Bruce Munro Wright, who have committed to their roles until 2026.

Paul Larocque, Yoshiko Karasawa, Carol Henriquez, Michael Audain (Photo credit: Jamie-Lee Fuoco)

Paul Larocque, the president & CEO of Arts Umbrella, conveyed his deep appreciation for the generosity of the art community and their steadfast support. He emphasized the profound and transformative impact of art on the lives of young individuals.