826LA raises $6,500 at Mark Moore Gallery’s “Spread the Word” with Jason Bentley and more!

Saturday night was an occasion to celebrate the intersection of art and literacy (not to mention partying with music for a good cause) as Mark Moore Gallery in the Culver City Art District hosted a fantastic 826LA fundraiser. Spread the Word, Los Angeles’ first art auction to support the publication of student writers ages 6 to 18, was a smashing success that raised more that $6,500 to keep 826LA programs like field trips, in-school projects, tutoring, and workshops free for the coming year.

Chris Stanton was one of the dozens who put a twist on old paperbacks for Spread the Word. (Credit Mark Moore Gallery)

Check out photos from the event on Facebook!

826LA and the fine folks from the Mark Moore team put out a call to creative professionals from a cross-section of art and design fields earlier this fall, and the response was overwhelming. Several dozen LA-based respondents, many of them mid-career artists with rising profiles, were happy to raise funds for our young authors.

What a lineup! Among the notables featured under Spread the Word’s banner were graffiti-influenced mixed media painter Aaron Kraton; local writer-artist and website editor Chris Stanton; 826 founder Dave Eggers (who contributed a mystery piece); Dianna Agron, known to the public best as Quinn Fabray, TV’s favorite glee club cheerleader; toy designer and illustrator Gary Baseman; vocalist Jessicka Addams (Jack Off Jill); 826LA board member Keith Knight, creator of The K Chronicles; and Okay Mountain, the Austin-based creative collective. In order to qualify as an exhibitor, each artist had to take a dusty paperback sent to them as source material and somehow alter it for auction at Spread the Word!

Surrounded by guests at Saturday's auction, Julie Doyle Roberts and Fred Beshid cheer great art and a year of phenomenal 826LA successes. (Credit Mark Moore Gallery)

Thanks to the enthusiasm of our supporters online, we were able to sell several hundred tickets to the night when our crazy, customized books got a grand unveiling. Even a little rain in the skies on Saturday couldn’t keep our enthusiasm down! And when our guests arrived at Mark Moore, they were psyched about the chance to take home works that are sure to become valuable collectors’ items: you really can’t find stuff like this anywhere else, and the bidders knew it.

Pieces by Jessicka Addams (left) and Keith Knight set the gallery atwitter. (Credit Mark Moore Gallery)

Everywhere we looked, people were marveling over books on display, strategizing bids (down to the last minute!), and grooving to music by local DJs like the incomparable Jason Bentley (familiar to you from The Matrix and Tron: Legacy scores, and in all likelihood from the radio soundtrack to a thousand of your morning commutes). All in all, we couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate the last week of students at LAUSD.

Juan and Willy get help thanks to your support.

With our success last weekend (which comes a few years after praiseworthy precedent was set by our East Coast colleagues up north at 826NYC), all of us at 826LA go into the new year with more money for needs we can’t do without: for the supplies we require to publish students, the lights in our centers that will help them through authorial journeys, and the staff who build partnerships with local schools and community institutions. Thank you for everyone who made our night at Mark Moore Gallery in Culver City a huge hit!

One the guests we were most excited to see, DJ Jason Bentley, spices up the night with a remix of the Jackson 5. (Credit Mark Moore Gallery)

“But wait!” you say. “I’m a supporter of everything 826LA does, and although I wasn’t able to pick up every single amazing book at auction on the 17th, I still need to be a part of the cause!” That’s not a problem, though. You can learn more about future ways to give back through this very website, which has an 826LA event section at the top. Keep your eyes and bookmarks on this blog, too, until at least the end of the week, as you’ll get to find out some ways to keep the magic happening at 826LA programs across Los Angeles right from your own home.


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