Now more than ever, small acts of kindness can have a big impact.

“It is nice to give someone a hat. It is also nice to give someone a call, a compliment or some delicious food,” according to award-winning Sydney artist Jason Phu. Along with fellow artists Sanja Pahoki (a Melburnian making “art about an existential anxiety [that’s] sometimes funny”) and Ukrainian-Australian Stanislava Pinchuk, he’s done a bespoke illustration for a series of limited-edition caps, which are for sale online to support Melbourne’s longstanding Blindside Gallery, a non-profit, artist-run initiative.

Phu’s design features a heart-shaped character, its arm outstretched with a miniature cap in its hand. “I’m giving you this cap because I love you,” it says. Pahoki’s, meanwhile, reads “Meditation & Exercise”, inspired by something a taxi driver once said to her. And Pinchuk’s cap is all about the “surreality of this age that we’re in, ruled by big data”.

As well as the caps, Blindside has put together the aptly titled B-Side, an online fundraiser with an incredible line-up of more than 100 artworks – from $150 – by some of the country’s most exciting contemporary artists. The works will be for sale from October 21 to 28, with all proceeds going towards Blindside’s future artistic programs.

It’s an alarmingly familiar story. Over the past two years, the team has been caught in a brutal cycle of planning exhibitions and events, rescheduling them, rescheduling them again, then ultimately cancelling them – often at extremely short notice, and with labour and materials already invested. As Blindside’s artistic director Martina Copley said in a statement, “It is heartbreaking how much the last two years of Covid-19 lockdowns in Melbourne [have] impacted the Blindside exhibition program. So many artists and curators have had their shows closed down or rescheduled.”

The gallery is also facing the prospect of losing its artistic home of more than 15 years, with the iconic Nicholas Building going up for sale.

But, in spite of it all, the Blindside team has rallied together for this fundraiser. Among the works is Singles (Distortion) #15 by local artist Dan Moynihan; it’s a miniature version of one of his signature brick-like sculptures made of mirrored, polished steel and fluro acrylic colours. It’s shiny, bright and the perfect pep-up for a weary Melburnian.

Another established artist, Kate Rohde, has contributed a rococo-style candlestick in the shape of a sea serpent that appears to be bursting out of the writhing waves. Also find a shell-like sculpture by Benjamin Woods, an entrancing piece made from paraffin wax and oil paint by Kaijern Koo and a geometric tapestry by Jacqueline Stojanovic.

Blindside has set itself a lofty fundraising goal of $10,000. But getting involved is really a win-win for any art lover: you’ll not only get a unique, affordable piece to show off in your home, but you’ll be supporting the community in its quest to keep creating.

The B-Side online fundraiser runs from October 21 to 28. The first batch of caps has sold out, but pre-orders are open now for shipping within two weeks.

blindside.org.au

Alana Kushnir is the founder of Guest Work Agency, a curatorial practice and legal and advisory firm for artists, collectors, commercial galleries and arts organisations.