Artist Rob Pepper hosted the inaugural fundraising dinner for Art Academy London at Christie’s Auction House on the 20th February. With the great and the good of London’s world-famous art scene in attendance, there was an incredible buzz throughout the night, which saw over 150 attendees raise around £40,000 for Art Academy London’s bursaries and facilities.
The ethos behind the art school where Rob Pepper is Principal is that creativity is part of who we are and should be accessible to all, and the sell-out evening demonstrated it from the very beginning by turning Christie’s West Gallery into a pop-up drawing studio.
From there, a welcome speech from Pepper set the tone for a night to remember. Witty, humorous and informative, the speech segued from tales of the artist’s five-year-old daughter, who insists that her drawings are not cute but wild, into the decline in numbers at GCSE & A level Art. He spoke passionately about the under investment of art education at school, contrasted with the growth of the creative industries and the role the Art Academy plays in art education in the UK. Pepper culminated by taking a group photo of the distinguished guests to mark the occasion.
When it came to the fundraising, Christie’s auctioneer Arlene Blankers sold work by Pepper and many of the Art Academy’s other accomplished tutors including Julian Wild and Katherine Jones. Each piece prompted fiercely competitive bidding from the attendees before finally being sold under the world-renowned Christie’s auction hammer.
Alongside the money raised, Pepper also announced the winner of the school’s first ever BA prize, Chikaora Obiora. The Hitachi-sponsored prize was set up to broaden the school’s reach, and covers tuition for its Fine Art BA programme. Obiora was a very worthy recipient.