Online Art Auction to Raise Awareness and Funds for Women and Families (Starting March 8 to March 14)


Local Charities unify Through Art to Celebrate International Women’s Day 2016 – Ritchies Online Art Auction Launches to Raise Awareness and Funds to Support Women and Families, Starting March 8, 12:01 a.m. and Ending March 14th 11:59 PM

The Jean Tweed Centre for Women, Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment, Ballet Creole and Margaret’s Housing and Support Services have partnered to celebrate International Women’s Day 2016 and to raise funds and awareness for local women’s issues. unify, the online art sale, begins March 8th at 12:01 a.m. and runs for a week to March 14th at 11:59 p.m.

For more information or to register go to,1/

Highlights for this online art sale include a rare selection of signed lithographs from the Marina Picasso Estate Collection, a selection of works from Toronto based artist, Karen Rieger, Photography from Michael Reichmann, a large variety of lithographs and serigraphs from international artists and works created by clients in the Expressive Arts Therapy program (ExAT) at Margaret’s. Physical viewing of the artwork is by appointment only and can be scheduled by contacting Cameron at

“Art plays a large part in the fundraising and programing of all of these organizations and was a logical way raise funds and celebrate International Women’s Day”, says Cameron Thomas, Manager of Estate Contents at Ritchies Auctioneers. “By unifying the art and initiatives of all of these women’s organizations, I thought we could raise more money and make a greater impact as a whole”.

This is an online-only sale and proceeds will go to further the programming that empowers women and girls to achieve their ambitions and support families. Some of the programs include safe and secure evening childcare at the Jean Tweed Centre, the expansion of a free drop-in Youth Empowerment Dance Classes for girls aged 8-18 at Ballet Creole, building a garden and dedicated space for women and girls at the Jean Augustine Centre and for the Ingrid Guzas Educational Bursary, named in honor of the late Ingrid Guzas at Margaret’s.


When asked about the sale, Lucy Hume, Executive Director of the Jean Tweed Centre says, “Many women would not attend our evening programs if we could not provide safe and supportive childcare at no cost. An initiative like unify not only brings attention to a great program, but will raise funds that will bolster our early childhood development evening programs.”

Marijana Cuvalo, Executive Director of the Jean Augustine Centre, says, “This is an exciting opportunity to highlight some of the important resources available within our community. With the funds raised, we aim to rebuild the Jean Augustine garden and design a dedicated space for young women and girls.”

Natassia Parson, General Manager of Ballet Creole says, “We are excited to be a part of this great initiative as it goes a long way in enhancing our community programming through additional partnerships and outreach initiatives. We have recently partnered with the Jean Augustine Centre to offer free drop-in Youth Empowerment Dance Classes to girls aged 8-18. The unify Art Auction will support expansion of this programming to include percussion and performance classes and will also assist with outreach to the South Etobicoke community to raise awareness of the programming available”.

Diane Walter, Executive Director at Margaret’s says, “We are thrilled to contribute works to the unify initiative as art plays a part in our programing through the Expressive Arts Therapy Program. This is a great example of women giving back to each other, a sisterhood of sorts.  Proceeds from the sale will go to the Ingrid Guzas Educational Bursary set up to assist women who have experienced barriers to reach the educational or self-improvement goals they have set for themselves”.

About The Jean Tweed Centre

The Jean Tweed Centre provides services to women ages 16 and over and their families.  Recognizing the diversity of women’s experience in today’s society, our programs address a range of issues in a woman’s life that may contribute to substance use, mental health and gambling problems. Each year, the Centre provides counseling and care to over 1,700 women and their families in Ontario.

The Jean Tweed Centre is a leader in the provision of best practices and is nationally known for the services we provide to the community.  We are also one of the largest facilities of our kind in Canada and directly contribute to the betterment of children’s wellbeing in the province.  Many of our services focus on the family and strengthening the relationships between women and their children.  For more information, go to

About The Jean Augustine Centre

The Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment is a new space in South Etobicoke, dedicated to empowering young women and girls through the delivery of programs that aim to nurture the mind, the body and the spirit.

Goals include providing a safe space in South Etobicoke for young women and girls to connect, engage and learn from one another in a number of informal settings, deliver programs related to yoga and mindfulness, dance and movement, health and nutrition, fashion and design, providing young women with the tools they need to advocate for themselves and their community.  We work in partnership with community stakeholders to deliver programs and workshops aimed at empowering young women.

About Ballet Creole

Ballet Creole, a non-profit, charitable arts organization, comprises a company of dancers and musicians, and a School of Performing Arts. Both entities are dedicated to the vitalization of African-Caribbean culture through dance and music performances, classes and community events. Ballet Creole is a forerunner of Blacks in Dance in Canada integrating traditional movement and music with contemporary present-day movement styles.

The School of Ballet Creole provides recreational community dance and percussion classes for children aged 5 and up, youth, and adults. Participants from all cultural backgrounds are welcome to take part in community programs which are inspired by African Diasporic roots. Training is also provided for aspiring dance artists, through our Company Apprenticeship program.  For the past two decades we have maintained a standard of teaching excellence while keeping classes fun and affordable. For more information, go to

About Margaret’s

Margaret’s provides a continuum of housing and support services for women with mental illness through innovative programming, advocacy and education, which empowers them to build and reclaim their lives. Margaret’s programs encompass crisis, interim and long-term solutions for women 18 years and over and their families. As an example, the Expressive Arts Therapy (ExAT) program at Margaret’s has been an ongoing weekly event since 2007. When words are not enough, the Arts provide an appropriate container for seeking solutions. Through a process of serious play in the arts, the group helps to build relational health in a consistent and supportive way. For more information, go to

About Ritchies Auctioneers

Ritchies is honoured to be involved in a large number of charitable events and fundraising auctions throughout the year.

Our involvement is a reflection of our commitment to give back to our community on a local and national level. We are immensely proud of our many associations and the important work that they do, as well as all our staff, who contribute their passion and energy so generously. Ritchies staff volunteer their time, talents and resources to benefit many organizations. We believe that our ability to help raise awareness as well as money for organizations not only benefits those organizations but also enriches our work experience in a meaningful way.

For more information, go to