2017 Silent Art Auction Proceeds Total Nearly $34,000

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The 2017 Silent Art Auction to benefit ABFE and Every Child a Reader was a decisive success at this year’s BookExpo, with more than 300 people attending. Net proceeds, which total nearly $34,000, will be donated to the American Booksellers for Free Expression (ABFE) and Every Child a Reader.

Art auctionThe auction, which was sponsored by the American Booksellers Association and the Children’s Book Council (CBC), took place on Wednesday, May 31, at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. Since there was no art auction at BookExpo 2016 in Chicago, ABA and CBC decided to partner up to bring back the art auction in 2017 while also making it the venue for the awards ceremony honoring the winners of the CBC’s 10th annual Children’s & Teen Choice Book Awards, which were hosted by National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang.

“I’m so glad ABA and CBC were able to bring back two beloved industry events,” said ABA Senior Program Officer Joy Dallanegra-Sanger. “It made for a high-energy evening that benefitted two important causes. We're looking forward to collaborating in the future and hope this remains an annual event on the children’s publishing world calendar.” 

More than 150 children’s illustrators donated art to the auction, including 25 artists who created works based on art from Random House Children’s Books’ Little Golden Books series. Organizers chose to honor Little Golden Books, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary, as part of an annual tradition of recognizing a different legacy in children’s illustration each year.

Total revenue from the event, including entry tickets and raffle tickets, was nearly $60,000. Sponsors for the auction included Penguin Random House and Random House Children's Books, which also donated 400 Little Golden Books tote bags for attendees to take home.

In addition, 10 pieces of art were raffled off to auction attendees, including two large doodle sheets on which illustrators were invited to draw during the event. The Art auctionsale of artwork alone grossed nearly $30,000, including more than $5,000 from Little Golden Books pieces. 

The net proceeds of the event will go to ABFE and Every Child a Reader, each of which promote the freedom to read. ABFE, the free speech arm of ABA, defends books that are censored by funding the Kids’ Right to Read Project and Banned Books Week, while Every Child a Reader, the nonprofit literary charity arm of CBC, supports events such as the Children’s & Teen Choice Book Awards and Children’s Book Week.

Shaina Birkhead, the programming and strategic partnerships director for CBC and Every Child a Reader, said it was a joy for CBC to combine forces with ABA on this year’s event. Each year, said Birkhead, the auction “gives publishers, booksellers, and other key players in children’s literature the chance to celebrate and support artists and books. You could feel the excitement in the room as people viewed and bid on all of the pieces enthusiastically donated by artists and publishers.”

Art auctionProfessor and children’s literature advocate Susannah Richards was the key organizer for this year’s auction. Although she has helped out for the past 12 years, this was the first time she was involved in all aspects of the event, including soliciting the art, working with ABA and CBC staff, and organizing the art on the evening of the event. Richards also coordinated the 24 volunteers, including ABA and CBC staff, who helped make this year’s auction a success.

“There are many reasons to love the Silent Art Auction but one of the best is because of the generosity and support of so many children’s book artists. It was fun to see how many artists bid on and went home with art from other artists. I love how the community of book creators supports its members,” Richards said. “Thank you to the artists who donated art, who attended the event, and who showed so much support for ABFE and Every Child a Reader.”