Have an ‘arty’ seat

Rockin’ Chair auction raises funds for literacy and artists

Fine Arts Blount and the Adult Education Foundation of Blount County took advantage of Last Friday Art Walk to launch a new fundraiser to benefit both groups. Rockin’ Chair Auction was held at ArtSpace Gallery during the Last Friday Art Walk in June and featured chairs, benches and other items decorated by area artists.

The Rockin’ Auction was a fundraiser for both FAB and Adult Education Foundation and began several months ago when artists were recruited to paint and transform the chairs. The chairs then were put on display at different businesses and restaurants downtown.

On the evening of the Last Friday Art Walk on June 25, the guests filled the FAB gallery and bid on the chairs, with as guest auctioneer Steve Samples leading the bidding.

Bonny Millard, executive director of the Blount Education Initiative, enjoyed the auction. “This has been an exceptional idea,” she said.

Samples said he enjoyed helping with the fundraiser. “There were some unique chairs so it made it really a lot of fun,” he said.

Carrie Eaton of Maryville praised those who planned the event. “I think it’s wonderful,” she said, noting that next year’s event should be even bigger. “Hopefully next year it will be better attended.”

Karen Brackett, exhibit chair with Fine Arts Blount, said the auction raised $1,800 total to be split between the two charities. “This was great. Everyone had a good time. I thought it was fun, and we had quite a crowd,” she said.

Doris Triplett of Maryville enjoyed helping prepare throughout the day and then she purchased a piece of work by FAB president Katie Kinney. “Katie did it, and I’ve got six great-grandchildren who can use it,” she said.

Bob Lash, outgoing president of the Adult Education Foundation of Blount County, was happy with the turnout and the amount raised. “For the first time, not knowing what we’re doing, we thought it went well. I wished more people had come out but, again, it is a first-time event,” he said. “For the interest it drew, and people who came, it was a success.”

Gloria Nelson of Maryville participated as an artist in the event and came away with both the Mayor’s Choice and the Merchant’s Choice awards chosen by the three mayors and the downtown merchants. Her work was entitled, “All Things Grow with Love.” Artist Karen Miller won the People’s Choice Award for her piece, “Color Bound.”

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