I think this is a great idea. For people getting back on their feet after battling both homelessness and the issues that led to it, fostering creativity can be useful for developing new skills, and the charity is looking at opportunities for training, employment, and apprenticeships in creative and digital arts. Not only that, but developing a creative outlet can be great for personal well-being. I think this is a great idea.
The bit that baffles me is the same thing that always baffles me about art - the value of the pieces on sale.
You see, the pieces being auctioned will remain anonymous until after the sale. As St. Mungo's Broadway's own website says:
"All are being auctioned anonymously, with the market value of each picture only becoming apparent after it has been purchased."
As the newspaper article reads, "Lucky punters might end up owning a piece worth thousands of pounds from established artists,"
Why should the market value matter and who decides anyway? Doesn't this kind of thing just go to show how arbitrary the concept of art valuation is? This would suggest that it is entirely in the eye of the beholder.
Please don't mistake me; I'm not at all suggesting that St. Mungo's Broadway are going about this in the wrong way. Quite the opposite if anything. This is a very pure way to buy art. The pieces have been donated and the buyers pay only what they think the money (and in this case, to an extent the cause) is worth to them.
If someone was prepared to buy a piece for £50 without knowing who it was created by, why should that value change upon finding out that it was an established an well-known artist? The buyer's initial response to the piece was as it was unfettered by the concept of fame.
If someone paid £750,000 for an anonymous piece, if they later found out it was created by John, who used to sleep rough on the streets of Bridgend, should the buyer feel cheated that they paid that amount of money for the piece?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this so please leave me a comment below.
St Mungo's Broadway provides a bed and support to more than 2,500 people a night who are either homeless or at risk, and works to prevent homelessness, helping about 25,000 people a year.
The auction closes tomorrow. You can make a bid here.