When a Whangārei teacher aide arranged for children's artwork to be displayed in a local cafe, she didn't expect anyone would want to buy it - but they did.
Tracey Cowan, Hora Hora School teacher aide, runs an art programme designed to build children's confidence and relationships through art.
She arranged for the kids' work to be displayed in JJs Coffee House in Bank St and members of the public liked it so much they asked if it was for sale.
"It was so exciting because it was so unexpected, that's not what we put it in there for, I did a little happy dance all the way to school.
"For the kids it's a good lesson for them that you can make money doing arts as well," Cowan said.
Angel Hayward, 11, sold her abstract watercolour of a bird for $80. $10 went towards a frame for the art and she got to keep the rest.
"I'm very happy. I bought candy and clothes and my mum's birthday cake," she said.
Now the children's work will be on display at the school this week and for sale via silent auction.
It will also be displayed at a public auction night at Hora Hora School tomorrow. There will also be donated work from Northland artists up for auction.
"It's manifested into this fundraising event, the wider arts community have gone crazy and donated so much of their art," Cowan said.
The students said they have learned about carving, abstract art, pastels and collage through the arts programme.
"I learned to draw because I really sucked at it but I'm better now," Aria Hapi-Westphal said.
The kids who haven't sold art through the cafe yet are excited to have the opportunity to do so through the auction. Some can already see the dollar signs and have been giving their parents the hard sell.
"I told my mum if you want to buy it, it has to be for more than $100," Aria said.
The kids will get to keep the money they make from selling their items, while the money from the public auction will go to the school.
The auction will be held at Hora Hora School with doors opening at 6.30pm. For more information and to view the catalogue visit www.horahora.school.nz.