Opening Night Success: 140 Join Us in Celebrating Art, Culture & Community

Opening Night Success: 140 Join Us in Celebrating Art, Culture & Community

It was heartwarming to have 140 guests join us in celebrating art, community and culture in support of SCARF at the Art4Refugees 2017 Opening Night on Friday the 27th of October.

Thanks to our guests and an incredible team of volunteers, contributing artists and sponsors, we were able to raise an unprecedented $17,000 for SCARF at the Opening Night alone.

As a major fundraiser, the money raised through art4refugees plays a crucial role in enabling SCARF to continue our valuable work supporting refugee entrants as they resettle in the Illawarra.

But our Opening Night wasn’t all about raising funds – we also wanted to provide an opportunity to celebrate diverse art, culture, music and cuisine. Thanks to some talented artists, cooks, speakers and performers, we’re fairly certain we managed that too!

If you missed out on the event, read on to learn how the night went.

The Art of Supporting SCARF

After receiving a glass of champagne on arrival, guests at the Opening Night mingled and had time to browse the more than 80 artworks on display at the venue.

Viewing artworks at Art4Refugees 2017

All of the artworks were also available for purchase, with 100% of profits from artwork sales directed to SCARF. More than a few guests took advantage of the opportunity to purchase something to brighten up their walls at home or work while supporting a good cause.

Guests purchasing artworks at Art4Refugees 2017

Traditional Syrian Cuisine

Early in the evening, guests were treated to delicious Syrian cuisine prepared by SCARF Community Caterers, Ghada and Ahmed, to fuel them for an exciting evening ahead.

Guests enjoying Syrian Cuisine at Art4Refugees 2017

A Diverse Line-Up of Talent

Next, the formalities of the night began. This part of the night was led by our wonderful MC, Manal Younus

After a Welcome to Country, Manal, who was a guest performer as well as MC, performed her Spoken Word Poem, ‘Breathe’, to a captivated audience.

Guests at the Art4Refugees 2017 Opening Night

Next up was Waafa, a SCARF Community Educator and Community Worker from refugee background, who shared some insights from her experience settling in Australia, and her journey with SCARF. Waafa’s speeches are always engaging, and this night was no exception.

Waafa at Art4Refugees 2017 Opening Night

Sako Demenjian, classical guitarist extraordinaire, was up next. Predictably, Sako wowed the crowd with his unmatchable talent and captivating musical style.

Sako Dermenjian at Art4Refugees 2017 Opening Night

Last but certainly not least was Blak Douglas, prominent artist, activist, musician and public speaker. Blak gave a powerful speech, didgeridoo performance, and even gave the audience a crash course in playing the didge!

Blak Douglas at Art4Refugees 2017

A Team Effort

Did you know that Art4Refugees is coordinated by volunteers? These legends have given up many, many hours for a good part of this year to make Art4Refugees possible – all in the name of supporting SCARF and refugee entrants in the Illawarra. Just a few from the team are pictured below.

Volunteers at Art4Refugees 2017

Other key supporters of Art4Refugees include our wonderful contributing artists, without whom there would be no art and no art4refugees. Thousands of dollars worth of art have been donated this year, and we are so sincerely grateful for this incredible generosity.

Our sponsors also played a vital role in making art4refugees possible. We’re grateful for the generous support of Morgans Wollongong, Urban Timber, iAccelerate, UOW Innovation Campus, iTree, PeopleCare, Family and Community Services NSW, Bluescope WIN, KiPrint, Illawarra Brewing Co., Illawarra Master Builders, Permian Storage and HydroSimulations.

Browsing art at Art4Refugees 2017

If you’d like to check out the art on display or purchase something unique to take home, it’s not too late! The Art4Refugees exhibition is open until the 12th of November at iAccelerate, Innovation Campus. Opening times are 10am-5pm (Mon – Fri) and 10am-2pm (Sat & Sun).

All photos provided by the wonderful Sarah at Bear Hunt Photography.