Shh…It’s a Silent Auction!

The Idea

Who came up with the idea of having a Silent Art Auction?

My students!

I challenged my 8th Grade students with a class project called You-in-Society.  For the You-in-Society project, students had to create an art project that positively impacted their community by using art.

One way students thought that they could positively impact their community would be to make artwork, sell it, and give the money to a local charity.  Since this first event, students have been putting on all sorts of silent art auctions.

Setting a Date

Timing is everything when it comes to hosting a silent art auction.  My students and I checked out the school’s calendar to see what big events were coming up, then we hosted the auction right around that event!

We started off with Parent Teacher Conferences.  This ideal time worked great for parents to check out the artwork while they waited for their next conference time slot.This past year we have hosted silent art auctions during family fun night, orchestra’s soup supper, and before the Willy Wonka play production.

I love it when the fine arts team up!  It makes for a great social event as well.

Organizing the Event

Once we had the date set our next step was to start creating some artwork!  Students love the choice based project and I love how motivated they all are to create.

Once they finished their piece they filled out a bidding sheet for their work. The bidding sheet included their name and the title for their art work.  I have included a free download of the bidding sheet we used for our silent auction.  Simply click the image below, or click right here to grab your copy.

I then sorted their artwork into 2D & 3D piles, with their bidding sheets on top of their work. Once their artwork was created and sorted, it was then time to set up for the main event!

Set Up

All that was required to set up the silent art auction was a few tables, easels, and pencils.  Students volunteered to help set up the artwork, and helped answer any questions that onlookers had.  The smell of popcorn wafting in helped to entice bidders as well!

Students have chosen a variety of organizations to donate their silent auction proceeds to, including Relay for Life and Free the Children, which helps develop art schools in third world countries.


So why host a silent art auction? Students want to know that they can make a difference in this world, and this project allows them to know that they can and art can help to make it happen!

It is also nice for students to say someone had purchased their artwork to support a great cause.  Community members were very supportive and enjoyed seeing the students’ work!

So, go ahead and change the world – One piece of art at a time!

Have you given back to the community with artwork before? Please share!




Chelsie Meyer

This article was written by former AOE writer and technology guru Chelsie Meyer.


  • Rina

    Love it on so many levels. Love they get to choose their own projects and charities. So great for community building. I am also hoping that they all sold. I will definitely bring this up with my principal and PTO president.

    • Thanks Rina! Glad to hear that you are excited to
      share this idea with your principal and PTO president! Wow, I’m blushing!

      The more students spread the word about the
      event the more this increases the likely hood that they all sell!

      The next morning students always come to class asking how much money they raised together!  :)

      • mrs g

        Are all students successful?  Just wondering if there are one or two students that don’t get any bids on their work?  Do you encourage the direction of their projects by having a theme or are their projects ideas entirely their own?  How long do they have to work on these projects and is it part of your art curiculum? Great idea, thinking of trying it but  I would like a  a few more details if you don’t mind.

        • mrs g

          Sorry I can’t stand when I spell something wrong – curriculum

          • I know I spell check everything! :)

          • Mrsgsartstudio

            Hi again, now that schools out I can concentrate on my to do projects. One is to continue tweaking my blog Art Someone Happy. It’s still at the beginning stage but I was wondering if you would mind if I featured this idea on my blog? The blog is about using art to benefit others and this would be a great idea for other art teachers to do. I of course would refer any readers to this post or even your personal web site for more info.

          • Mrs. G- I actually thought of your blog when Chelsie posted this! It fits in perfectly!

          • bobbie

             Hi Teach,
            Love all the new things you are doing – on-line magazine.  Don’t know how you do all that you do but thanks – I have learned so much and I think become a better and more confident teacher because of your site. 
            As always
            blessings to you,

          • Thanks, Bobbie! It’s fun to inspire and be inspired, isn’t it?

          • Mrs G – That would be wonderful! I would be honored-could you send me the link? or post it?

          • I found it! Nevermind :)

          • bobbie

             Hi Chelsie,
            I finally did a post on your idea.  Thanks for letting me share it with others.  I hope you don’t mind that I used one of your pictures.  Is that ok to do?  Just learning about proper blog etiquette so let me know if its not acceptable. 

            blessings always,
             bobbie  – Art Someone Happy

          • Yes- Thanks for sharing!

        • Mrs G, 
            Glad to hear you are thinking about trying it out!

          My students have more success the more we advertise the event, but yes there are a few that might not get bid on.  I sometimes bid on these, but I never share with the students what their work sold for unless they ask. I do tell everyone the full amount we raised TOGETHER! The larger $ amount is always more impressive.

          Most of the time students will try to create around a theme based on the charity we are giving to or the event- for example for the orchestra soup super event we made clay bowls. Many times students will make more than one project for the event!

          It does tie into my art standards.  My 8th graders do a project called You-in-Society.

          I have them for 45min. everyday so we usually work on them a week or so. 

          I hope that answered all of your questions, if not please let me know!

          I hope you are able to try it out! Let me know how your silent art suction goes!

          Wishing you the Best!  :)

  • Elizabeth

    I did this with an after school  group.  They made clay bowls in red, white, and blue, and the proceeds went to our local food pantry.  We held it the night before our school’s arts day, and invited the community and administration. We had our music teacher have her recorder students provide music, and the cafeteria provided cookies and punch.  The students dressed in black and white and stood by their art to talk to guests.  It was a great learning experience for them, AND we raised over $300.00 and the kids were thrilled.

    • Hello Elizabeth,
      What a great idea to have the students dress in black and white and stand next to their artwork! I love it! I will definitely be trying that out at our next silent art auction!

  • Mgreica

    Hi again, now that schools out I can concentrate on a few to do projects. One is to continue tweeking my blog Art Someone Happy. Its still at the beginning stage but I was wondering if you would mind if I used this posts on my site. The blog is about using art to benefit others and this would be a great idea for other art teachers to try and for others to benefit from. I of course would refer any readers to this post or even your personal web site. I’m hoping to add more and more of these types of projects to my site.

    • Sure! Your post looks great, sounds like you are building a great resource! I love projects that provide a win-win situation for ALL! Thanks for giving credit!

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