Impeccably hosted by the dynamic duo of Gloria Macarenko and Fred Lee, the Splash Gala evening exuded an atmosphere of excitement as attendees revelled in lively entertainment, captivating student performances, and an exceptionally curated art auction. The sold-out fundraiser once again raised an exceptional amount in support of arts education for children and youth, thanks in no small part to the dedication of event co-chairs Christie Garofalo and Bruce Munro Wright OBC.
arts umbrella, splash gala, helen siwak, folioyvr, vancouver, bc, fairmont hotel
Christie Garofalo, David Garofalo, Gloria Macarenko, Marie Khouri, Fred Lee, Paul Larocque, Carol Henriquez | Image by Michael San Felipe
This year’s auction showcased an impressive selection of 96 artworks contributed by esteemed artists such as Rebecca Belmore, Edward Burtynsky, Douglas Coupland, Stan Douglas, Wanda Koop, Elizabeth McIntosh, Lincoln Clarkes, and many more. New this year, in a partnership with Holt Renfrew and Kelly Streit of Mode Models International, was an art-inspired Fashion Moment featuring top model Heather Marks, which ended the night with a splash.

A Gift of Permanence

Renowned Canadian philanthropist Michael Audain and his wife Yoshiko Karasawa were also in attendance and were celebrated for their recent $2 million gift from the Audain Foundation to be permanently endowed in the Arts Umbrella Foundation, in support of access to the arts.
arts umbrella, splash gala, helen siwak, folioyvr, vancouver, bc, fairmont hotel
L-R: Paul Larocque, Yoshiko Karasawa, Carol Henriquez, Michael Audain | Image by Jamie-Lee Fuoco
“Thanks to the generosity of the art community, Arts Umbrella can continue to pursue its mission of fostering creativity, self-confidence, and empathy in young people through the power of art”, said Paul Larocque, President & CEO, Arts Umbrella. “It is also with immense gratitude that we celebrate the decision of Christie and Bruce to stay on as Splash co-chairs until 2026.” He continues, “We are sincerely appreciative of their unparalleled contributions and their deep commitment to Arts Umbrella.”

Supporting the Arts for Over Four Decades

Arts Umbrella, a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing arts education for young people, commemorated the 41st edition of its renowned Splash Art Auction on Saturday. Held at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and presented by Nicola Wealth, the event achieved unprecedented success, raising an incredible $1.8 million. Funds from the event directly support vital scholarships, bursaries, and programming, ensuring access to high-calibre arts education for children and youth in Metro Vancouver, and across Canada.

arts umbrella, splash gala, helen siwak, folioyvr, vancouver, bc, fairmont hotel

arts umbrella, splash gala, helen siwak, folioyvr, vancouver, bc, fairmont hotel
Top & Bottom Left Images by Michael San Felipe
The 2023 Splash Art Auction event drew an exceptional gathering of over 600 guests, marking the highest-attended Arts Umbrella fundraiser in history. Among the attendees were luminaries from the art world, including Splash artists Lauren Brevner and James Harry (Nexw’Kalus), Bobbie Burgers, Russna Kaur, Marie Khouri, and Scott Sueme. Distinguished guests also honoured the occasion, including Arts Umbrella Co-Founder and Honorary Chair Carol Henriquez, Nicola Wealth President and Arts Umbrella Foundation Chair David Sung, and Nicola Wealth Chairman & CEO John Nicola.

An Important Annoucement

Punctuating the successful evening, Splash co-chairs, long-time Arts Umbrella supporters, and dedicated arts and culture advocates, Christie Garofalo and Bruce Munro Wright, announced that they will continue their roles as co-chairs of the annual art auction through 2026. Showcasing their unwavering support of Arts Umbrella’s mission, this commitment will result in a remarkable decade of steering Splash together.

A Catalyst for Change

Since its inception in 1982, Splash has championed the belief that art is a powerful catalyst for positive change in children’s lives, instilling lifelong qualities such as self-confidence, empathy, and creative expression.

Author Profile

Helen Siwak, Luxury Lifestyle Observer
Helen Siwak, Luxury Lifestyle Observer
Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, PORTFOLIOY.YVR Business & Entrepreneurs Magazine, and digital women's lifestyle magazine She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at
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