Capetonian benefactor Amanda Bloch has combined her love for art and her passion for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital and helping others by launching the biannual art auction, Art Benefit. This event has spiralled into an incredible success, raising awareness and funds for a worthy cause. HL chatted with Amanda via Twitter about this year’s event, why it is so important to her and the power of collective giving… @houseleisureSA: Hi Amanda and thanks for joining us. The 6th Art Benefit is happening this year. What is the cause all about? @amandajbloch: Raising funds for the new Burns Unit at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. @houseleisureSA: How is it going setting up the venue at Leeuwenhof? @amandajbloch: An 8-day build to set up the banquet space and gallery! 440 crew prepping, debriefing, tuning the baby grand, and last minute hanging changes in the gallery. It’s a beautiful setting! @amandajbloch: Here we are making some last minute tweaks. @houseleisureSA: How would you describe the feel of the exhibition? @amandajbloch: Looking amazing! The exhibition has been curated and hung by Linda Givon, founder of Goodman Gallery. @houseleisureSA: Very exciting that the @Goodman_Gallery is involved! Which artists are participating this year? @amandajbloch: Many galleries are involved, including Goodman, Stevenson, AOP, Maker, Barnard, Everaard Reede and more. @amandajbloch: Participating artists include William Kentridge, Robert Hodgins, Cecil Skotnes, Wim Botha, Eduardo Villa, Penny Siopis, Santu Mofokeng, Mikhael Subotzky, Guy Tillim, Jane Alexander, Sue Williamson, Norman Catherine and many others. 60 in total. @houseleisureSA: Why is this event so close to your heart? @amandajbloch: The Red Cross Children’s Hospital saved my son’s life! I have spent the last decade trying to say thank you! @amandajbloch: Children, irrespective of their family’s financial circumstances, deserve 1st world care in 1st world circumstances. @houseleisureSA: Absolutely. You talk about the power of collective giving. Why is this so important to you? @amandajbloch: Not one of us on our own can achieve what we do as a team. Through the Art Benefit, a swarm of givers make what we achieve possible. Together we have built buildings, given hope and above all, saved lives. @houseleisureSA: We hear that 12-year-old William Smith, a past burns patient, will also be showcasing his art. Tell us more? @amandajbloch: William had a double arm amputation due to severe burns. He paints and draws with his mouth. William collaborated with @iKronk and @toitoyZA to produce a vinyl collectible. @houseleisureSA: How exciting! Will it also be up for auction at tomorrow’s event? @amandajbloch: Yes, the last lot of the auction is always a collaboration between an artist and the patients. @houseleisureSA: What a lovely idea 🙂 Finally, how are ticket sales looking? @amandajbloch: The Art Benefit is SOLD OUT! Interested buyers can register to telephone bid by contacting @chtrust1 @houseleisureSA: That’s fantastic! @houseleisureSA: Thanks for chatting to us Amanda. We hope that the Art Benefit is a giant success! @amandajbloch: Thank you so much! We and the Red Cross Children’s Hospital are very grateful for all the support we have received! Interviewed by Kim Grové. The 2011 Art Benefit was held on Saturday, 3 September at Leeuwenhof, the official residence of the Premier of the Western Cape, and proved to be a massive success. Congratulations to Amanda and The Children’s Hospital Trust for raising over R4 million at this year’s art auction! If you’d like to make a contribution, be it monetary or otherwise, please contact the independent charity and fundraising arm of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, The Children’s Hospital Trust, on 021-686-7860. childrenshospitaltrust.org.za Read more about the Art Benefit and Amanda’s work in this month’s Art Smart on page 38 of our September 2011 issue, on shelf now! Photographs courtesy of Brandon Golding and Gregor Rohrig.