Fundraisers such as this are a typical way of raising money for schools, both public and private. Even Daisy's preschool, which was an unstructured, counter-culture, vegetarian, hippie haven, had an annual auction. Their auction featured items like:
- Aunt Mildred's tofu-spinach cookies! Best you've ever had! *
- An evening in Grandpa Moonbeam's hot tub! With Grandpa! (clothing discouraged) *
- Chest of children's hand-me-downs: includes Baby Birkenstocks, "Somewhere In Texas A Village Is Missing Their Idiot" onesies, and hemp diapers. Worn with love. *
- Lunch with Mayor Gavin Newsome
- Wardrobe consultation by professional wardrobe colorist
- Cryogenic Chamber. Includes liquid-nitrogen cooled money chamber. You can take it with you! *
These art projects are what pulled in some of the big bucks. Each classroom has one or two parents who help with art activities on a regular basis. For the auction, they'll work on a special project. For example, the parent will get each kid to scribble some piece of art in a theme, like gay marriage. Then, the parent will take those homoerotic scribbles, transfer them to pieces of highly polished Italian marble, and build a house from that marble. This house then gets auctioned off as "children's" art.
Although many of the parents at the auction can't afford to bid more than a few dozen dollars, all it takes is two sets of parents from each classroom who have thousands of dollars, or are drunk and have credit cards. These parents then get into a bidding war, fueled by booze, competitve spirit, and a desire to bring home Junior's Gay Marriage Italian Marble Mansion *. This happens with almost all of the kid's art items so they raise a lot of money. A couple of the projects went for $5000 each. Some of them were HIDEOUS.
My wife, Hank, as it turns out, is one of those classroom art parents. She has spent months working on the art project for Daisy's class, and designed it to look nice in our house. She had each kid draw a nature-themed picture on copper plates. Hank then used a variety of chemical processes to etch the drawings into the copper. These plates were then wired together as seen on the right. It's quite lovely.
Thankfully this particular art project can be split into more than one piece, so Hank strategically partnered with another set of classroom parents who seem to have a sizable "art" budget. This allowed us to purchase Daisy's art while continuing to make our mortgage payments. It would suck if the bank foreclosed on our house, preventing us from actually having a wall to hang it on.
Nice work, Daisy! The auction raised over $150,000.
* Not actual auction items. Everything else in here is true.