Revived art auction raises $22K for Ottawa’s Big Brothers Big Sisters, Operation Come Home

Elspeth McKay, executive director of Operation Come Home, with Michael Scrivens, vice-president of Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions, at the Glebe Community Centre on Saturday, March 25, 2017, for the return of the Big Art Come Back fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa and Operation Come Home. (Photo by Caroline Phillips)

One of Ottawa’s oldest charity auctions has been brought back by popular demand.

Following a 10-year hiatus, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa decided to revive its venerable art auction while this time partnering with Operation Come Home, another non-profit organization that helps at-risk youth.

Big Art Come Back, held at the Glebe Community Centre on Saturday night, featured 35 works from such well-known Ottawa artists as Tim Desclouds, Jerry Grey, Christopher Griffin, Michael Sproule and Gerald Trottier.

Susan Ingram, executive director of BBBS of Ottawa, said she often hears from people who used to be connected with the non-profit about how much they’ve missed the art auction.

“I run into alumni all the time,” she told “Always the first thing they say to me is, ‘I used to go to Big Art. I have some pieces from it hanging at home. You should bring it back’.”

Lawyer and long-time supporter Lawrence Greenspon returned to entertain the crowd as charity auctioneer. Mayor Jim Watson dropped in to mingle and check out the artwork (the event was the fourth of six events he attended that Saturday).

Also seen were Elspeth McKay, executive director of Operation Come Home (OCH); Michael Scrivens from Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions; BBBS board president and lawyer Tina Hill; and OCH board member Robin Ritchie, senior counsel at Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP, with his wife, interior designer Ester. She headed up the committee that chose the artworks for the show, from a selection of more than 60.

The roughly $22,000 raised will help support BBBS’s mentoring program and OCH’s school, employment and housing programs.