Fundraising Profile – Tea Gardens Primary School Art Expo

Tea Gardens Primary School celebrates Ruby Anniversary

Tea Gardens is a small village located on the mid-coast of New South Wales. The following article about their special art expo event was featured in their local newspaper.

“TEA Gardens Primary School is about to celebrate a remarkable milestone, the ‘Ruby Anniversary’ of its annual Art and Craft Expo.

The School’s major fundraiser displays and sells creations from local and national artists over the Easter Long Weekend.

‘’This event is the major fundraiser for our school and provides many resources including facilities, programs and resources,” Principal Mark Clemson said.

Still going strong after 40 years, the Art Expo has many elements.

“Historically, a feature artist comes and does demos across the weekend,” Mark told News Of The Area.

“It is anticipated that given we are in our 40th year, we will have multiple feature artists returning for the event this year.’’

Opening night on Thursday 13 April is for the over 18s.

“During the evening, apart from viewing the excellent artwork, a mega fundraising raffle for prizes donated from local businesses is held,” Mark said.

“A meal in the form of a carvery is offered, entertainment and the auction of class art, and one piece from each of our classes is offered for auction,” he added.

Behind the scenes, the School’s P & C and its dedicated committee is working tirelessly to ensure the Expo goes off without a hitch.”

Source :

How it works:

The school has a tradition where it will buy one piece of art and auction it off to raise more money. As well as this, there were sometimes donations of art pieces which are sold for pure profit for the school. Art pieces created by each class are also auctioned. There was an occasion when a family member paid $1200 for their child’s art work!

Activities for all ages incorporated into the event, with art and craft and spin art as part of the event to make it a family friendly. There are cocktails, a courtesy bus, food, several raffle prizes throughout the 2 days of the event. If you and the family live in or around the area, or you’re holidaying in that beautiful part of the world this weekend, drop in and support this wonderful community event and help them celebrate their special milestone.

When you’re the event co-ordinator for a P & C function, there is no rest until your event is actually finished. There is always something that needs to be done – small details that need to be checked and double checked, and of course some last minute shopping to do. That is what I found Melissa Brown (Tea Gardens Primary School P & C member) doing when I finally got to speak with her. She was shopping for the Tea Garden Primary School Art Expo, whose opening night is scheduled for Thursday April 13th this year, the start of the Easter long weekend.

Here is what Melissa said about what it takes to put such an event together.

Q:  How did this idea come about?

A local lady by the name of Jan Winn, started the art expo idea 40 years ago and it has been liked, appreciated and admired since then – it is as much as a fundraiser for the school, as a local community yearly event so many years later. Eighty-year-old Jan Winn’s family first came to the area back in the 1880s. Five generations of Jan’s family, including herself and her children, also went through the local primary school. The idea started in 1977, when Jan Winn and the then principal Evette Barwick became lifelong friends through their love of art and craft and their passion to raise money for the school.

Q : What kind of planning is involved in setting up this Fundraiser?

  • Art dealerships, gallery owners, private and even non-local artists need to be contacted,
  • Raffle sale items need to be either purchased or asked for from local business owners.
  • A courtesy bus is donated for use – someone needs to ask for that.
  • Alcohol and food are either purchased and some donated by local eateries and liquor stores.
  • The volunteers list needs to be updated, revised and maintained.
  • Marquees, tables, table clothes need to be checked for damage.
  • Crockery, utensils, servers and glassware need to be checked and re-stocked if necessary.
  • Event dates and advertising booked.
  • Advertising locations to be decided, flyers printed and put up.
  • Event location selected and booked.

Q: You’ve been doing this for 40 years. What’s the secret of success?

The popularity of the event, along with the sentiments attached to this yearly event makes it a ‘looked forward to’ event in the Easter holidays. The secret of success lies in planning – a to-do list, a handover from the previous committee, and a dedicated team of volunteers.

Q :  How popular is this fundraiser in terms of community connection and engagement, and funds raised to efforts put in?

The popularity of the event lies in the fact that there is total community engagement, and because it has been running for 40 years, its name speaks for itself. The funds raised are sometimes a big surprise. The fact that they advertise everywhere – from high-end corporate offices to boutiques stores, real estate agent windows, caravan parks and from posh art galleries to their very own classrooms makes this a pure advertising campaign paying off.

The efforts to make this event ‘happen’ from inception to execution and everything in between is huge and the payoffs are high as well, however, the community engagement is highest.

Q : Do you think the longevity of this event is due to its popularity, the sentimental value of the event or funds raised? 

The longevity of the event was purely because of sentiments, the popularity of the event and tradition.

Q : What would be your best tips & tricks to other groups if they were to do a similar event? 

  • Have a seamless handover
  • Have a clear timeline of what needs to be done when, and by who
  • Start planning 6 months in advance
  • Use the school community network to get volunteers, helpers for the day of the event and for donations
  • Have accountability for each person or teams work
  • Meet frequently to keep abreast of any hiccups or issues
  • Plan, plan, plan
  • Have a good relationship with the school administration, teachers etc.


This article was written by Richa Joshi, one of our freelance writers.


Tea Gardens Art Show


Tea Gardens Art Show


Originally published 12 April, 2017

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