Independence High students hold art auction to raise money for North Bay fire victims

A painting that shows the Golden Gate Bridge and other famous San Francisco landmarks
One of the art works on display at Independence High School's Fine Arts Night. (Photo courtesy Anna Klafter)

When the San Francisco skies became smoky last October amid the extreme and record-breaking series of wildfires in the North Bay and beyond, students at SFUSD's Independence High School didn't just sit inside and wait for the air to clear.

Instead, they brainstormed ways they could help victims of what became one of the deadliest and most expensive wildfire events in California history.

Felix and Julia, both ninth grade students at Independence, along with a few other students decided to hold an auction, from which the proceeds would be donated to the Sonoma County Fire Relief fund.

Their dream of helping fire victims came true on the evening of Wednesday, May 16, when their silent art auction was held in conjunction with Fine Arts Night at Independence.

"I heard so much about the fires, and saw it on the news," said Felix, 16, of why he wanted to help victims of the destructive blazes.

"We got more excited about the auction as we progressed," Julia said. "We were also a little concerned, wondering, 'Will anyone actually bid?' That was my worry."

But to the delight of Julia, Felix and other students, they raised some $200 at Wednesday evening's auction.

Around 10 students donated artwork for the auction. In all, they offered 18 pieces of pottery, 11 paintings and 11 drawings -- about half of which sold on Wednesday.

Both students, though modest, were also proud that their hard work had paid off. They said they couldn’t have accomplished the auction without the support of their advisor or principal, Anna Klafter.

"I have yet to put a proper emotional classification on it," Felix said. He considered the impact of his work for a moment, then added, "It's satisfying to help people."