Here in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Tuckamore tree is a symbol of strength and tenacity, that which bends without breaking even in the harshest conditions. It is this symbol of fortitude from which the Tuckamore Festival takes its name. And considering the challenges that the pandemic has created for arts organizations like Tuckamore over the past couple of years, and how they’ve withstood the storm, it’s a fitting one. It is this resilience that has kept Tuckamore going strong for over two decades.
The Tuckamore Festival has built a reputation as a world-class event celebrating all things chamber music including concerts, workshops and masterclasses, outreach events and more. Through their Young Artists Programs (including the Young Artist Composer program, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year), Tuckamore is also helping to mentor and grow the next generation of performers and chamber music enthusiasts.
But you can’t have world-class performances and programming without a strong support network, which Tuckamore is fortunate to have firmly planted in place. One of their staunch supporters is Wayne Bartlett of Bartlett Auctions, who has been an essential part of Tuckamore’s fine art auctions for the past decade.
The auction is Tuckamore’s biggest fundraiser of the year and (much like chamber music itself, which is performed for small groups in intimate settings) is intimate in nature, usually hosted at the home of a Tuckamore supporter (their upcoming auction on May 10 will be hosted by Tuckamore board member and Young Artist alum Melissa Saunders. The physical event is by invite, but those who are interested in attending can get in touch with the festival for more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org).
The virtual auctions that took place in 2021 and 2022, says Krista Vincent, Tuckamore’s Executive Director, allowed the organization to continue fundraising at a time when it proved most challenging.
“We were very fortunate to have this relationship with Wayne when the pandemic hit, and could rely on his expertise in moving our fundraising activities to virtual space,” she says.
Typically, about a couple dozen donated items are auctioned off, which includes not only fine art, but other local items and experiences. This year’s offerings include everything from a growler from a local brewery, to a piece by renowned artist Jean Claude Roy (who Tuckamore calls their “artist patron” for his longtime support).
“Over the years, he has also been an incredible patron of the arts in this province. He supports a wide range of charitable organizations through his time, through his energy, through his art. So that’s something we really don’t take for granted,” Vincent says.
The proceeds from the artworks that are auctioned off are split with the artists, with the rest of the funds going towards Tuckamore’s Young Artist Program, specifically, Young Artist scholarships (Vincent says there will be 30 young artists participating this year).
Speaking of Roy and Bartlett, Vincent says “Over the years, we’ve had just an incredible amount of support from them for our fundraising objectives.”
“No festival really can exist without these kinds of partnerships,” she adds, noting that just as Bartlett Auctions has helped Tuckamore build their audience, Tuckamore has helped increase Bartlett Auctions’ client base as well.
Bartlett’s partnership with Tuckamore came about as a result of his friendship with Jean Claude Roy, he says, and Roy’s commitment to the organization.
Bartlett estimates he’s done about 1,200 charity auctions for different groups and organizations over the years. To him, he says, these events are about much more than just showing up, selling some items and then leaving. “I would work with groups like Tuckamore for weeks and sometimes months in advance of their event, making sure it worked out well, and making sure we optimize the volunteer effort mostly,” he says.
“Doing all these charity auctions, I got to know a lot of artists and in getting to know them, it just became a bigger part of my life,” he adds. (This year, Bartlett is ringing in his 30th anniversary as an auctioneer.)
When it comes to successful fundraising, “It’s all about collaboration, and what they bring to the table in terms of a real pursuit of excellence,” Bartlett says, pointing to Tuckamore’s Young Artists Programs as an example.
“It makes it easy to fundraise once people know and hear (about) what they’re doing…truly what you’re raising money for is in pursuit of excellence, and that is true for sports teams, musicians, and that’s ultimately the focus, is to give an advantage and opportunity to kids who couldn’t otherwise afford to pursue what they’re offering. And what Nancy (Dahn) and Tim (Steeves) offer at Tuckamore is unbelievable. It’s world class.”
Check out Tuckamore’s upcoming free Launch Concert featuring Duo Concertante on Friday, June 16 at 7:30pm at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Click here for more information.