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Fired up over art

A collection of 1,200 pieces of art will be auctioned off to benefit the Fire Fighters Burn Fund. - submitted image
A collection of 1,200 pieces of art will be auctioned off to benefit the Fire Fighters Burn Fund.
— image credit: submitted image

Take more than 1,000 paintings collected by one eccentric art collector — who happened to be a B.C. firefighter — add the members of the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund — who are building a Burn Fund Centre, complete with accommodation for outpatient burn survivors — mix in a creative idea from one of B.C.’s Arts Councils, and Fire & Art is created.

Firefighter John Carr was an avid art collector who, when he passed away, left a house full of paintings.

His widow, Betty Carr, chose to donate 1,200 of the paintings to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.

A provincial sale of the paintings would aid in the effort to build the Burn Fund Centre, which will offer an entire floor dedicated to fully furnished accommodation suites for burn survivors, while they are being treated at Vancouver hospitals, and enable families to aid in the caregiving and support.

“Out-of-town patients need, not only accommodations for outpatient treatment, but family support as well while going through the very long recovery process,” said Eric Vogel, a director with the BCPFFBF and Burn Camp chair for the popular Burn Camp for burn-injured children, held every summer

“We’ve already raised 80 per cent of the $13.1 million needed to build the new facility and we are expecting to have our ground-breaking ceremony this fall.”

When Mrs. Carr approached Vogel about the project, he responded the only way he knew how — look for artists to help.

“I knew it was important for the BCPFFBF to find just the right partner to help sell the paintings and move the Burn Fund closer to its goal,” said Vogel.

“That’s when I approached the Langley Arts Council for their assistance.”

Harmony Thiessen, the executive director of the Langley Arts Council, devised a plan to hold a web-based art sale that would allow 100 per cent of the money to go to support the BCPFF Burn Fund and the art community in the Lower Mainland.

The campaign, which was launched on May 28, will give individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations the opportunity to purchase paintings from the John Carr collection and support a cause that works year round to provide burn safety and prevention programs, along with burn survivor support for all ages and stages of recovery.

“This campaign is not about buying fine art at a discounted price, it’s about supporting the burn fund for trauma and burn survivors, and at the same time investing in arts and culture in our community,” said Thiessen.

“The LAC is honouring the legacy John Carr left behind by awarding grant funding for up to 10 different community art projects throughout B.C.”

“The pieces of art will be sold online for $100 or $200 each,” Thiessen added.

“Each buyer will receive a plaque thanking them for supporting these causes.”

Visit www.johncarrcollection.org to learn more and to view the art for sale.

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