St Wilfrid’s Hospice launches The Big Secret Art with 1300 postcards from artists and celebrities

Sussex Life March 2014 front covers

Sussex Life March 2014 front covers - Credit: Archant

St Wilfrid’s Hospice in Eastbourne, East Sussex, launches its second Big Art Secret exhibition at Towner gallery on Saturday 8 March, with more than 1300 postcard sized pieces of art from local artists, international celebrities and many more.

Among the celebrities who have contributed artwork is English artist Grayson Perry, comedian Graham Norton, hospice patron and TV presenter David Dimbleby, Prime Minister David Cameron, TV personality Andrew Marr, 2012 Olympic gold medallist Katherine Grainger, actor and director Tom Conti, Squeeze member Chris Difford, Actor Ranulph Feinnes, Comedian Matt Berry and many more. Other contemporary artists who have submitted a postcard include Sue Campion, Elda Abramson, Barry Wilson and Julian Sutherland-Beatson,

However, no one will know the name of the artist behind each piece until the auction ends on 23 March.

The number of submissions received for this year’s Big Art Secret has smashed the previous record - more than doubling the 600 submissions received for the last event, showing huge support from local residents, artists and celebrities as they get creative for the artistic fundraising initiative.

A free two-week exhibition of all the art will be held at Towner, the southeast’s award-winning contemporary art museum, which is the host and partner for the event, from Saturday March 8 to Sunday March 23 (except Mondays). The online auction, hosted by eBay, will be live on March 14-23 and anyone can join in.

St Wilfrid’s Hospice Chief Executive Kara Bishop commented: “This is an opportunity for anyone, not just art collectors, to support our charity and gain substantially from it, be it in terms of owning a valuable piece of artwork or from the enjoyment we can all get from a piece of art that truly strikes us as beautiful or moving.

“The auction will appeal to art collectors and complete newcomers to the art world, but the beauty is, with artists from household names to hospice patients, nobody will really know which ones are by a famous artist until after the auction has finished. Throughout the exhibition, each piece will have a QR code that will take the bidder straight to the piece on eBay, which will show the latest bid as well as an invitation to bid.”

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This is the second time St Wilfrid’s Hospice has run the event, with famous artists Tracey Emin and David Hockney taking part in last year’s auction, which raised a phenomenal £50,000 for the local hospice. The Hockney piece was successfully bid for by a lucky person on a mobile phone in a bar in Sardinia.

Emma Morris, CEO at Towner, said: “We are very happy to be supporting this amazingly worthwhile event for such an important cause. What I really like about it is that it is completely anonymous right until the end of the auction, so you could end up buying a Grayson Perry piece for pennies, such a fantastic idea!”

The profits from the auction will be split, with 80 per cent going to St Wilfrid’s Hospice and 20 per cent to Towner Charitable Trust.