Art auction is a cultural as well as charitable event.

The far west has attracted artists for well over a hundred years. The Newlyn School was founded back in 1880 and included Stanhope Forbes and Lamorna Birch. The fantastic light and (back then) cheap accommodation were attractive as well as the stunning scenery that draws us west today.

On that I loved - Weather Beach by Maggie Feeny.

One that I loved – Weathered Beach by Maggie Feeny.

More recently Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicolson were among the big names of the St Ives School, Hepworth herself living in St Ives from 1949 until her death in 1975.

Downalong in St Just we have our own big names including Kurt Jackson, Jessica Cooper and Andy Harper, and indeed one of The Cornish Way’s owners, Rachel, is a known artist too.

My favourite - Jessica Cooper's Fresh Coffee, Made Today.

My favourite – Jessica Cooper’s Fresh Coffee, Made Today.

Despite the high number of great galleries in the far west it’s rare that you get a chance to see the work of nearly two hundred artist in one location. But on Friday night that’s just what we did, and better still, everything was for sale with the proceeds going to great causes.

Buttercup by Maggie Matthews.

Buttercup by Maggie Matthews.

The Refugee Aid Auction at The Queen’s Hotel on the Penzance’s promenade was a night of music (jazz played live by Little Feat), banter (200+ wonderful people in fine form and enjoying the action) and hectic comedy auctioneering by David Lay.

Jonty's fine take on a sideboard.

Jonty’s fine take on a sideboard.

All 191 lots were sold and £13,400 raised for the causes which were local charity Refugee Aid and international Medicins sans Frontieres.

On Saturday 28th November the next of three events for the charities is a one off gig by local Ska legends Pond Life. They’ll be playing at The Ritz, a tired, yet exciting, perfect venue on Queen Street that opened as a cinema in 1936 and was rescued from it’s bingo hall ignominy in 2009 and now serves as a cool community club/venue with sensibly priced beer. Ales from The Star in Crowlas last time I was there.

Pond Life - a one off gig on Saturday 28th November.

Pond Life – a one off gig on Saturday 28th November.

Tickets have nearly sold out so if you read this and fancy joining the good and dance ready of Penzance and St Just you’d best get in quick.

Huge thanks to organisers of the auction, local carpenter and artist Jonty Henshall and his partner in (this) crime, Holly Whitelaw.

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