FUNDRAISING NEWS: Art cans sold in aid of homeless

Emma Maier

A unique sale of limited-edition works of art made from gold-plated soup cans by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders is set to raise £20,000 for three charities tackling homelessness in London.

The Salvation Army, the Nehemiah Project and the London Christmas Mobile Service will each receive a share of the money raised from the sale of 100 specially designed cans that have been gilded in 24-carat gold.

The cans were emptied and the contents used to feed people at a Salvation Army project, before being gilded and decorated with a London-inspired label bearing a red house-shaped stamp. The cans were all signed by Wanders and are on sale at Noel Hennessy Furniture in central London for £200 each.

"This is an innovative way to raise awareness of issues surrounding homelessness as well as raising funds," said Major Raelton Gibbs, head of homelessness work at The Salvation Army. "This event gives us an opportunity to reach a new audience."

The project was originally conceived by Wanders in 2001 to celebrate the first anniversary of a small art gallery in Hamburg, and has since run successfully in Hamburg and Washington. Wanders, who is best known for his 1996 chair made from knotted rope, plans to take the project to key world cities to raise money for local homeless people.

The cans were unveiled last week at an auction at Noel Hennessy Furniture's London showroom. Several specially designed items made from cans, including a hat and matching clutch bag with the design of Campbell's soup cans by Phillip Treacy, were sold, as were 20 of the gilded cans. More than 150 guests attended the event and £7,000 was raised.

The remaining cans are now on sale until the end of the year, alongside a series of eight photographs by London photographer Richard Learoyd.

A Can of Gold book of soup, including recipes donated by celebrity chefs, is planned for 2004.

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