Student-led Art Auction Raises Money for Veterans in China

by Emily Yuan, WAB Student

A group of Western Academy of Beijing High School students took an artistic approach to supporting World War II veterans in Jianxi Province, China.

With the help of their classmates, students Emily Yuan and Sigrid Wang organized the inaugural Auction for Change on April 30, a silent art auction in Shi Cha Hai Clubhouse, to raise money for solar panels to heat veterans' homes. In the winter, Emily took a trip to Jianxi and met the veterans, whose stories and historical influence had an immediate impact on her. Sharing her experiences with Singrid, the two built a small team of classmates and decided to take advantage of their common passion: art.

Hours before the auction began, students gathered at the scenic Shi Cha Hai garden on Houhai Street to get ready for the event. They decorated the courtyard with framed paintings created by a range of artists, from International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level Art students to professionals.

As the doors opened, the atmosphere grew from a quiet afternoon to an animated, lively gathering. WAB student bands set the mood, as guests took photos, enjoyed refreshments and began placing bids on the artwork. Guests included WAB parents, business professionals, philanthropists, art enthusiasts and even representatives from the United Nations. The individuals and smaller social groups soon came together and united as one for the cause and to enjoy the afternoon.

At the end of the day, almost every piece of artwork had been taken off the walls and into the homes of the highest bidders. The Auction for Change raised 70,000RMB to build solar power systems to heat veterans' homes.

To learn about the diverse service student-led projects at WAB and other opportunities for students to contribute to their local and global communities, visit the WAB website's Make a Difference page.