Photography by John Frazee Photography.
Sarah Brook Lyons didn’t just put her art up for sale; she actually sold it. This is newsworthy, as any artist can tell you, because getting anyone to throw money at art is on the difficulty scale of Super Mario Bros stage 8-3. To be fair, Lyons has already made somewhat of a name for herself, and that certainly gave her a leg up. But, to be fair about being fair, you could be Banksy and still feel more than a twinge of excitement and relief to be able to say the following words: “I met my goals.”
Those goals were to raise enough money to send her young daughter on the educational trip of a lifetime – a Model UN with 600 other students from across the globe – and an opportunity for experience that could make all the difference in her future.
“I want her to have this experience, but as an artist, my bank account doesn’t look like much,” Sarah Brooke Lyons told CO LAB Magazine after the auction. “I had to do something. Figure it out”
“Okay, I have art,” she had said to herself, “I’ll have an art show.”
Sarah Brooke Lyons is a fourth-generation San Antonian. She might be most widely known for her 2014 photography series, “1005 Faces,” which sought to capture people of our city across the socioeconomic spectrum. I won’t try to detract from its beautifully-written description in the Rivard Report, so I advise reading it there. Of her current artistic direction, she says she’s “enjoying doing multimedia pieces right now,” such as “painting over photos” and “playing around with different kinds of papers.” Many such unconventional pieces were on display at last Sunday’s auction.
Lyons must have more than a little uneasy about the prospect of letting some of her most prized pieces go for uncertain sums. She went through the common steps of art shindig planning: she found a DJ, made her own flyers, got Local Coffee and Bakery Lorraine to sponsor some refreshments, and bought as much wine as her pocketbook could afford. She must have been even more uneasy when only six had expressed interest in attending on the Facebook event page even as it was beginning.
Somehow, the result broke from statistical reality.
“I wasn’t sure if anybody would come at all and let go of the expectation [that they would], and was pleasantly surprised by the turnout,” said Lyons.
When asked what other artists could take away as a model for their own success, she says this: “I didn’t wait for somebody to invite me to be part of an art show. I just took the initiative and went through all the steps necessary… I guess my bit of advice would be to be willing to take the risk, and make it happen for yourself.”
With the proceeds of the auction, her daughter, Scarlet, will be attending the Model UN in China with around 300 students from around the world, along with 300 more based in China. Scarlet will be researching and presenting a real-world issue that is also currently being discussed in the actual UN – the illicit small-arms trade. She and her cadre of junior ambassadors will then debate that issue concurrently with their big-league mirror-image.
“It makes her a global citizen, so she’s not just looking at it from her eyes, she’s looking at it from a totally different perspective,” Sarah Brooks Lyons explained, though she didn’t have to.
There’s no telling what manner of world we might live in if every child had this kind of experience. If the art community can make it happen for just one more, that’s one more chance to change our global future.