Nfld. & Labrador

Timeraiser campaign lets people buy artwork with volunteer time instead of cash

A national project that allows people to purchase artwork with volunteer time instead of money was set up at YellowBelly restaurant in downtown St. John's on Wednesday.

Campaign visited St. John's Wednesday as part of national tour for Canada 150 celebrations

Timeraiser150 was in St. John's on Wednesday at YellowBelly in downtown St. John's. (CBC)

A national project that allows people to purchase artwork with volunteer time instead of money was set up at YellowBelly restaurant in downtown St. John's on Wednesday.

It's called Timeraiser150 and was launched for the Canada 150 celebrations as a way to encourage people across Canada to get more involved with different non-profit organizations.

Jaime Robson is the managing director of Framework Foundation, which is overseeing the Timeraiser150 campaign. (CBC)

"What we do is buy artwork from emerging artists. And we then host live art auctions where people can come out and bid their volunteer time, instead of their dollars, to purchase the artwork and give back locally in their community," said Jaime Robson with Framework Foundation, the group overseeing the project.

Robson said a jury panel decided what art pieces were to be auctioned, as well as the volunteer groups where people could donate their time.

The artists get market value for their art and the opportunity to showcase their work. They also meet the people who are giving back to the community by "purchasing" their art.

People who want to acquire art being offered by Timeraiser can bid volunteer time, rather than cash. (CBC)

For the person who volunteers their time to acquire the art, Robson said it helps give a much more meaningful context to the painting.

"That piece of art is more than just a piece of art that's going to get hung on someone's walls. It's going to be hours given back in the community all thanks to their participation," she said.

"When you look at a piece of art that's on your wall and you have stories behind it, you have meaningful engagement with a unique experience that's personal to yourself. Then that piece tells a story more than just what the artist is saying."

One year to volunteer time

If someone wins a bid on a piece of art, they then have 12 months to complete their volunteer hours. They can even use a special smart phone app to track how much time they have volunteered. In the meantime, the art they won in the bid will be circulated throughout the community in coffee shops, non-profits and corporate partners.

While the St. John's auction was for one night only, Timeraiser also has an online marketplace feature where people can purchase art directly using their volunteer time, rather than having to bid during an auction.

More information on the project can be found on Timeraiser's website.

With files from Regan Burden