Ketchikan resident Amy Christensen says the First City is known for coming together to help people. She says she wanted to contribute — and she had an idea to do it on a larger scale.
Last August, she put her idea into action, creating a Facebook group to organize auctions for donated art. She calls it “Art for Auction for a Cause,” and all of the proceeds go to community members in need. Now, over 1,000 people have joined the group — and the auctions have generated thousands of dollars. KRBD’s Molly Lubbers sat down with Christensen to reflect on the effort one year after its creation.
Molly Lubbers: So, to start off, can you tell me a little bit about why you started Art for Auction for a Cause?
Amy Christensen: Especially when the pandemic hit, I noticed that there were many people who needed help. But there was no way that — we were all in lockdown, there was no way that we could do a community center where you can do auctions and spaghetti feeds. That’s when I noticed that something needed to be done, something else needed to be done, besides just a regular GoFundMe to help.
Molly Lubbers: What does it mean for you to be able to kind of give back to your community in this way?
Amy Christensen: I don’t look at it as that. I look at it as: I’m not the only one giving back…A lot of people tell me that I should be proud for what I’m doing. I’m happy to do it. But I’m not the only one. Everybody who donates, and everybody who bids gives to the community in some sort of way. And that to me, just watching it, before I even post or or do what I need to do. I love it.
Molly Lubbers: So you auction off art, was that the original idea or —
Amy Christensen: It was definitely the original idea. And it’s still the basic idea of the page. But then there’s just people who like, “Well, hey, you know, I made this item.” And to me art has a broad term.
Molly Lubbers: What is the significance of having these items be handmade?
Amy Christensen: That’s a really beautiful thing. I know how long it takes to make something. I used to etch mirrors all the time. And it would take me weeks to etch a mirror. And then to be able to donate whatever you have made, that’s wonderful. Like that, that really puts you out there. One thing that I did also want to mention because I’ve had a couple people ask me this is: You don’t have to have your name out there. If you want to donate an item and you’re not sure if it’s going to sell and you’re kind of nervous about it, I put it down as anonymous. If you want to bid on an item, and you don’t want your name out there because you’re not sure how that will go, PM me. I have no problem putting down anonymous. If you have any questions about how Art for Auction for a Cause works, you can ask me. I have absolutely no problem giving step by step instructions on how it works. Any way that I can make it more comfortable for the community to help somebody, I’m willing to do.
Molly Lubbers: Can you tell me a little bit about what you do outside of this in town?
Amy Christensen: Besides being a stay at home mom, this is my quote unquote job. I take care of the kids during the day, clean the house, you know, feed the family and then once they go to bed, I spend anywhere between four to five hours a night working — photographing, descriptions or sometimes I will even stay up and research an item…But it takes time to do all that.
Molly Lubbers: So you said it’s not just you helping, but you do kind of get to kind of see all the help, you get to see it all come together. So what does that feel like, especially having grown up in Ketchikan and having some deep ties to the community?
Amy Christensen: It feels amazing. I love watching every time a bid comes in, I love watching an item go up in price. And I love how dedicated people are to bidding on a certain item or donating a certain item to help…And I’m so happy that I get to see it firsthand.