LYNN — The fun could be heard at Raw Art Works throughout Central Square Saturday night, and it was all for a good cause.
The art-therapy focused after-school program held its annual BASH fundraiser and they raised at least $100,000. Creatively wacky costumes with a black-and-white theme, a fun photo booth, an open bar that included specialty cocktails, catered hors d’oeuvres, live music, and a theatrical live auction, there wasn’t a single guest in the building who didn’t have a smile on their face.
“My favorite part about BASH is we’re celebrating all cultures,” said RAW board member Kathleen Quigley, whose family has all become part of the organization, including her daughter who is a RAW graduating senior this year. “We come together as sponsors, students, alumni, and members of the community to celebrate these kids and celebrate art.”
Along with the live auction, which alone raised more than $68,000, there was a silent auction, a Sponsor-A-Kid auction, and donation jars in every room. All the raised money goes back to RAW in helping fund their various programs and bring in more students. The artists with pieces that were auctioned off, they get a portion of the sales.
Karen Otto, a Beverly resident who works for New England Biolabs, bought two pieces of art during the live auction. Since the president of her company is an art collector, she bought them with intent to bring them to her office, she said.
“It’s been such an amazing event,” Otto said. “I’ve had so much fun.”
Marblehead resident Mark Peters was one of many to raise his paddle for the Sponsor-A-Kid auction.
“RAW is such a fantastic organization that supports kids from different backgrounds who are just looking for a safe space,” Peters said. “Here, they’re allowed to express themselves through art.”
Meghan Ayer, 19, attended the event in her first year as an alumna. Last year she was one of the graduating seniors parading around BASH and mingling with donors and community members, all while showing off her own art pieces. This year, she was able to enjoy BASH in its entirety and relax.
“What didn’t want to make me come back?” Ayers asked. “RAW has a special place in my heart and it always will.”
The event may have been organized around fundraising, but the main focus was the high school seniors who were being celebrated for their hard work.
Mary Flannery, the founder of RAW, was filled with energy in her role as the auctioneer, equipped with an insane costume and a top hat that could be considered a work of art. To the amped up crowd, she described the graduating seniors as the best pieces of art in the room.
“You all are here celebrating and supporting their palettes of possibilities,” said Flannery.