Here are some pictures of our work for Snowflake Gala 2008, the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation's annual black-tie fundraiser. Our objective was to design and build sets that would entice guests into bidding on Feature Auction packages, donated to the Foundation by various companies from as near as downtown Edmonton, and as far as Orlando, Florida.
The theme colours for 2008 were bright red, yellow, blue and green, introduced by a charming invitation "storybook", featuring teddy bears (the SCH mascot is a teddy bear) doing snowy-related activities like tobogganing and ice skating. The Foundation wanted to return Snowflake Gala to it's kid-focused roots for 2008, as it was felt previous galas were moving too much towards the adult and sophisticated. At the same time, they wished to strike a balance between the children who are the focus of the Stollery Children's Hospital and the Foundation, and their parents whose ticket purchases and auction bids support the biggest fundraising event in Edmonton, also one of the largest of its kind in North America.
For the Feature Auction, ID Bohemia built on the storybook theme by creating a grown-up storybook. Each display included a custom-built or printed backdrop—framed in the year's theme colours—forming a "page". This page was then fleshed out with props begged, borrowed and donated from generous friends, family and businesses.
The final eight packages for the Feature Auction were:
1 - A Family Trip to Jasper National Park, with: accommodations at Tonquin Inn or Maligne Lodge, passes to the Miette Hot Springs, guided white water rafting, horseback riding, a trip to the Columbia Ice Fields, a round of golf at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, lift tickets on the Jasper Tramway, and lease of a Mercedes Benz (SLK 350).
We sought to capture the wilderness of the Canadian Rockies with vintage framed prints and paintings of lake and mountain scenes (regular readers of this blog may recognise the elk), including several paintings donated by Amanda Pura and Marlon Doidge, whose children have been patients of the Stollery Children's Hospital (a lovely example of how full-circle life can be).
2 - A Guided Salmon Fishing Trip, with: flights to Campbell River, BC, and accommodations and a salmon fishing trip for 2 at the Silver King Lodge.
One of our most successful displays, a large scale model of a de Havilland Beaver on floats, with an astonishing wingspan of 129" (over 10'!), floated over fifty watery-eyed Chinook salmon, themselves racing across the Pacific Ocean, as depicted in a massive treasure map complete with an "X" marking the location of the Silver King Lodge...and sea monsters! John James designed the map around an antique image we'd found of Vancouver Island (if you'd seen what we gave her originally...it was soup from a stone, I tell you). It was printed by Klyment Tan at PrintHuge.
The de Havilland Beaver is a bush plane developed by de Havilland Canada and known in flying circles as an extraordinarily dependable workhorse.
Despite the fact that production ceased in 1967, hundreds of Beavers are still flying—many of them heavily modified to adapt to changes in technology and needs.
(de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver, Wikipedia)
Even today, demand for Beavers continues so strongly that companies have taken to fishing downed Beavers from lake beds and muskeg and rebuilding them!
3 - A Wine Tour with Private Jet, including tastings and tours at Kettle Valley Winery, Hillside Estate Winery, Lake Breeze Vineyards, Red Rooster Winery and Township 7 Vineyards and Winery.
Considering how involved and well put-together this package was, admittedly, this display wasn't as strong as it could have been (the package wasn't confirmed until quite late in the design process). Still, thanks to a wealth of wine crates, a bit of creative finagling with grapes, and my crew's talented set-dressing skills, it worked out quite well.
Those guests paying careful attention would have noticed that the wines in the display came from two of the vineyards included in the trip. I always wonder if anyone notices these things besides the creator (in this case, us), and I always hope that small details like that work, at least, on a subconscious level towards the overall impact of a design/creation/whathaveyou. God is in the details, as they say.
4 - A Trip to Hawaii, including: flights to Oahu, Hawaii, and accommodations at Makaha Resort and Golf Club.
Who better sing you to Hawaii than a ukelele cover band!
I first heard The Be Arthurs (now The B'Arthurs?) on CJSR several years ago, doing a cover of Justin Timberlake's Cry Me A River. (Click here to see more videos of them on their YouTube Channel.)
The Be Arthurs were set up on an artificial putting green lent to us by Evergreen Turf, and their performance, by the way, was superbly awesome.
The flowers in the background are known either as plumeria or frangipani, found on a stock photography site, and printed by PrintHuge. Though not native, plumeria grow abundantly in Hawaii and are often used in making leis.
5 - An Event Design Package, courtesy of ID Bohemia.
Goodkey Show Services provided us with red velvet stanchions and a red carpet, intended to convey an atmosphere of luxury. We kept noticing groups of people gathering on the carpet to chat. At the end of the carpet, we placed the image we used in our wedding invitation, an ambitious set design depicting a young writer obsessing over his muse, and a portfolio of our event work that I created especially for Snowflake Gala.
6 - A Trip for 4 to Orlando, Florida, including: flights, accommodations at the Marriott Orlando World Center Resort, passes to the Kennedy Space Centre, passes to Walt Disney World (3 days x 4 people), tickets to Skyventure Orlando Indoor Skydiving Experience (including Training, rental gear, 2 skydives, DVD Flight Recording and Photos), and park passes to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
Fifty pink flamingos (the original, and best, Don Featherstone design) lolled about a crisp, blue lagoon reminiscent of Florida's iconic Everglades National Park, sporting handmade flamingo-scaled Mickey Mouse hats. On the LCD flatscreen, they watched looped video of space shuttle launches from Cape Canaveral.
The vintage film reels, implying Universal Studios, were lent to us by our very good friend Scott McPherson, a writer, producer and Principles Trainer, with a long and successful career in television and film.
7 - An Evening in Bangkok for 6 couples, featuring: manicure and pedicure treatments at Pure Elements Hair and Body for the women, and Thai cooking lessons from Chef Elaine Wilson of Allium Foodworks for the men, after which the women return from their spa session to enjoy dinner and wine with their men.
The golden elephant probably gained us the most "cred" from our fellow set designers, themselves working in other areas of Snowflake Gala. Crafted from carefully crumped cardboard by Aaron and I over three full days, it measures 5' tall and 4' across from ear to ear. Lorn put together an appealing display using bamboo trunks imported from Thailand, and traditional Thai cooking ingredients like ginger, lime and chilies.
8 - An Escape to Bear Mountain, including: a stay at The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa, Victoria and 6-month lease of a 2009 Mercedes Benz SLK 350 Roadster.
I'm not normally a car person, but this Mercedes-Benz Roadster was pretty darned sexy. In the driver's seat sits the Stollery mascot surrounded by teddy-"chicks" from Bearyland, the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation toy and gift shop located on the main level of the University Hospital. For the background, I drew a Dr. Seuss-inspired windy mountain road on wood-patterned paper.
This was a very interesting project to work on, in part because the parameters of the project continued to change quite significantly (due to the size and nature of the donated auction items) right up until it's installation in Halls A, B and C of Edmonton's Shaw Conference Centre , and also because the contents of each package were so richly varied.
The displays were very well received by the guests of Snowflake Gala 2008, as well as the staff and volunteers. Everyone said they were incredibly creative and artistic—a huge step up from previous years—and very representative of the Feature Auction packages.
Thanks to Klyment Tan for printing the backdrops and taking a few photos of the event for us, Al Schmidt for lending us his de Havilland Beaver, the people at Sobeys Urban Fresh on Jasper and 104 for the grapes, Bin 104 for digging up all those wine crates, Angus at Polly Magoo's Ltée. for lending us exotic props, Scott McPherson for his film reels (and for not losing it when they were, um, temporarily misplaced by the tear-down crew), Aaron's co-worker at ServiceMaster, Rick, for his leather saddles, Suzanne Chivers and Amanda Pura and Marlon Doidge and their children Jessica Trathen, Cody Pura and Sarah Doidge for donating paintings, Gary Selanders of Evergreen Turf for lending us real artificial turf, Goodkey Show Services for the red carpet, stanchions and black curtain wall (and for correcting my set-up foibles), Showtech for lighting, and the Shaw Conference Centre for the use of their A/V equipment.
Thank you especially to Rob Stewart, Grant Miller, and ServiceMaster of Edmonton for so generously donating the funds to carry through this project for the Stollery, The Be Arthurs for performing that evening (I sincerely hope it leads to some gigs), Lorn Iseke, James Carignan, Jessica Palsitt and the many volunteers for your way too many hours in setting it all up, and the staff of the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation for staying at the Shaw Conference Centre until the wee morning hours so that Aaron and I didn't have to be there for tear down at 1am after several very long days and for your general cheerings-on.
Really, it's all the people who took the time and effort to donate supplies, money or their "off" hours for these displays, and indeed the entire gala production, that ensured that as much of the fund-raised money as possible went towards the Stollery Children's Hospital and its patients. Bravo!