The Great Fundraiser

So the day finally came.  And I was a nervous wreck.  No really.  I was quiet and reserved because my nerves were a mess.  And this is why.  Yes, it was an amazing idea.  And yes the artwork turned out beyond my wildest dreams good.  And yes, the PTA was beyond kind about the whole process.  But....what if no one bought them?  Oh geesh.

I'd brought my personal show displays for the work since I knew they'd all fit.  Around 4:30 we had the artwork all set and ready to go.  I ran home to change and grab William then back to the school I ran.  Ready to meet and greet and show off all our hard work.

As families walked out every child came running over to proudly show their parents which painting was their class'.  Most were so complimentary.  And I just beamed sharing the how we accomplished such amazing work.  I do have to say there were a few snobby Mommies in their decked out heels and make-up who turned their noses up.  I seriously wanted to punch them in their overly done faces....one even said "I have no use for a truck painting."  OMG.  Not only did ya stab me a good one, you just stabbed your own child!  Urgh....there were several of those type of comments.  I also had to remember that not everyone appreciates the same type of art I do.  I know this.  But most families did  love them.  The ones who bid were super excited to not be bidding on baskets full of A1 sauce.  Many were confused though, as to the process and how to bid.  Some were taken back at the starting bids, which we set at $50.  (Now I must interject here, we are by no means rich.  With money that is.  We have a budget for everything.  We've been down the dark road before and have NO intention of ever seeing it again.  I won't share my entire budget with you, but will tell you that we spend $150 on groceries a week, $130 on gas and we get $100 to spend eating out or on entertainment.  Last week for instance we went to Wings and Things.  It was $48.  So that meant we had $52 for the rest of the week.  And spring fling had to be a part of that money.  We also have extra in the budget for spending on things like auction items.  I had a limit for my bidding and once we hit it I had to back down.  Mailey got that.  And was fine.  Of course I can always have her class paint me one.)  Anyhoo, I share that personal information with you because $50 was not unreasonable to start the bidding on a painting that is priceless no doubt.  But I was made painfully aware that $50 was just not feasable for many families in our school.  And it broke my heart.  Because many were ones who really wanted the paintings but could not bid.  Does this make sense?
So every painting sold.  The lowest bid being $50, the highest being $300.  Gulp.  As I wrung my hands out at 9:30 Friday night my worst fear had come a teensy bit true.  Although we made money.  Let me be clear about this.  Made money.  More than the basket auctions in the past, but it still did not meet my expectations.  My expectations.  The PTA however, turned to me that night and said, let's do this again next year.  We learned a few things this year and next year it'll only be better.  So they were again being ever supportive and ever optimistic.  I love those women.
And truly in the end, yes the money was important, but more importantly these children were given an opportunity unlike any they may encounter again.  They had the opportunity to work with a real artist on a real painting to sell in a real auction.  Hey, just like Horton's little speck, our school is huge to these students and they made history that night by selling their work.

Next year, I'll be teaching here again and I am sure students will be offering many an opinion about what to paint.  We'll see about that.  I do have issues with control and doing things my way...hahaha....and expectations.  Not that I intend to lower them.  Next year I'll have this year under my belt and can be a little more realist about our outcome.  Oh and below was Mailey's class painting...the one that had the bidding war and ended up at $300.  Like I said, I can always get them to paint me one, right?

Anyhoo, I can not thank you guys ENOUGH for your support of this project.  It made the evening so much better reading your comments on FB, getting sweet texts and of course your comments.  It's always lovely when you know you are loved.  And I certainly felt it.  Puffy heart that.


Micah Holden said...

I can relate to the aprehensive feelings; I have to say, I'd spend a ridiculous amount of moola to hang my kid's masterpiece in our home! Nice to hear they were all snatched up. As for those snooty patooties: Didn't need them anyway!

bonniemon said...

So glad to hear the update on how the auction went! I remember the days when my kids were in elementary school as being a very lean budget, too. When I originally read about your idea, I thought it might be wonderful to take orders for sets of cards or offer smaller prints, too. That way the kids could each have something to remember their contribution and one lucky winner would still have the original.

Melissa I. said...

Jenni! This is wonderful!! I knew it would be a great success! I like Bonnie's idea, too. Note cards or small prints would be great ways to make helping affordable to the families that couldn't participate.

Can't wait to see you in June for PSW!

Melissa I. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenni Horne said...

We do participate in a program before Christmas where the company puts the art on different products. I thought about asking them if they could work with me in offering like one or two items for this idea exactly. They offer way to many products in my opinion and parents get overwhelmed. Plus they'd not have to scan all the art! Just 23 pieces. We talked about this for next year. But too, I am but one person. And the thought of adding and yet a 3rd fundraiser to my plate on the tiny salary already in place, well....gotta think on that one. :)

Jenni Horne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darcy said...

Yay - glad they all sold (knew they would). Sorry for the downers - there are some in every crowd and they just suck. I can't imagine a better or more authentic art experience for your "kids"! You did a great thing here :-) And heck yes I'd have her class paint another one!

After working on the group ones, maybe the kids (older ones anyway) could do individual paintings in the same style? Maybe on cardboard (for the budget consideration)? Just a thought.

Sabrina said...

I have 3 kids and have participated in many school events over 2 schools. You will never, ever, make everybody happy. Let it go. Easier said than done, I know. What you accomplished was amazing. Next time you encounter a naysayer, just greet them with a smile and say, " I'm looking forward to your ideas and commitment to running auction items NEXT year." As soon as they even think they might have to put themselves on the line, they will think before they speak! You are awesome!


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