The International Water Foundation One Drop had a very successful art auction this past Friday, which raised nearly $9 million for it initiative towards supplying safe water in Latin America.
Held at the Phillips Auction House in Manhattan, the Art for One Drop showcased fifty-one lots donated by internationally recognized artists such as Ai Weiwei and Paul McCarthy, and monetary records were broke for both the fundraiser and several of the artists. Highlights from the sale include a neon display from Tracey Emin called I Listen to the Ocean and All I Hear is You, which sold for almost a half million dollars, and an untitled sculpture from David Hammons which sold for $880,000.
It was an evening that reflected the passions of all those involved. One Drop was founded in 2007 by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, a man that has always tried to blur the spectrum between the artful and environmentally conscious. In a video played before the auction, it stressed One Drop’s concern with how people around the world are deprived convenient access to drinkable water, and spend hours trying to get to uncontaminated spots that they drink at instead of spending that time at their work or with their families. One Drop has vowed to help over 1.3 billion people the world over, by eradicating toxicity, and making more of the earth’s water safe to drink.
With an audience made up of wealthy artists, art collectors, and philanthropists, attendees were able to see the artwork up close before the auction. During the preliminary cocktail hours, guests were allowed to walk freely in the gallery, thanks to the efforts of famous curator Philipp Kaiser. The auction lasted about two hours and gave guests two huge surprises at the end. The first was the announcement of a 51rst lot, which was a one-week getaway to Hawaii with a house for 20 guests, and all-expense-paid staff. After this, the announcer invited guests to stay for what he described as a “transformative” experience, where a selection of multicultural dancers took to the auction floor and performed interpretive dance throughout the evening. With an open-bar and plenty of exotic food to go around, it brought out the auction in a truly celebratory fashion.
Promising to give 100% of the proceeds to their Latin American program, Lazos de Agua, the results of this night will help hundreds of thousands of people in Central and South American countries like Mexico, Colombia and Paraguay. At a time when the world’s future seems murky at best, it’s always so hopeful to see events where art and philanthropy merge into such a gestating whole. Here’s hoping that One Drop will only continue to have more events, with similarly brilliant results.
For more information on One Drop, please check out their official website.