By Lisa Monique

Published: November 10, 2009 

Elle Zoltak at Art for Science 






Art for Science raises funds for the Murdoch Children’s Institute of Research and fashion for artists, collectors, galleries and corporate Australia.

48 of Australia’s star artists donated a piece of their work for the cause, which were auctioned off at Nellie Castan Gallery in Melbourne’s South Yarra. Over 350 people attended the event, which raised $430,000 for the institute.

Elle Zoltak, Gallerist and in-house Designer for Nellie Castan Gallery, gives us the glorious inside perspective to the event.

Nellie Castan Gallery was very generous to host this event. What went into it in terms of planning?

The Murdoch Institute, which is made up of a committee of volunteers, do most of planning for this event. They get in contact with artists, they organise the catalogue, the auctioneer and auction process, the pricing, the guest list, as well as the hanging and lighting of the exhibition. Nellie donated the space for the event, as well as staff and time. We gave a lot of logistical direction.

And the event itself, what was the buzz like?

Very glitzy and glamorous. The crowd was very stylish and it was hard to know what the auction was about. Was it about the art, the clothes, the fashion, or the charity?

It looked like everyone was having a blast, were there any memorable moments?

The event started upstairs as an auction. Guests arrived at 7.30 and the auction began at 8.30. It was moved along quickly, so by 10pm the guests we encouraged to move downstairs into the warehouse car park, which was transformed into a night club. There was a dance floor, band and two bars, all sponsored by The Big Group, which is one of Melbourne’s finest catering companies. We had cocktails, French champagne, everything was sponsored!

Any fun on the dance floor?

I don’t want to name any names, but one of the artists, when he gets drunk,  likes to do the splits, so of course that was the highlight of the night – splits on the dance floor!


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In terms of the auction, were a lot of the bidders art collectors?

Yes, many were regular collectors. There were also people who don’t usually by art, but that have a lot of money. These ones will collect big brand names, like Bill Henson and David Bromley. They wouldn’t risk an unknown. For them it’s more about showing off and about the labels – just like the clothes!!

Do you think the current economic climate has influenced people’s charitable tendencies?

It’s hard to say, because they raised more money than ever this year. The committee was nervous about it, but they were blown away by the amount of support for the charity. People’s attitudes where ‘it’s for charity, it’s for charity’ and ‘what’s another $1000’. It didn’t end up being an issue.

And lastly, which was your favourite piece of art on the night?

My favourite piece was a Song Ling.  He’s represented by Niagara Galleries.  It was a gorgeous painting of an Anime style girl in a bright yellow raincoat. I’m surprised it didn’t go for more. I think the auctioneer hit the hammer too soon, he could have milked it for more.

Related Links

Art for Science Catalogue

Elle Zoltak

Suzi Carp

Robert Doble

David Bromley

Bill Henson

Emily Floyd

Viv Miller

Kate Just

Ash Keating

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Nellie Castan Gallery - Mark, Nellie, Elle, Leonie & Olivia
Nellie Castan
The Auction upstairs in the gallery
The Party downstairs in the car park
The Splits! 

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