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Artists create chairs for Powell River Art Chair Auction

Powell River Peak. August 23, 2017. By David Brindle

Among the chairs up for bid at Powell River’s Art Chair Auction is America by Powell River artist Paul Paiero.

Paiero’s chair is as garish as United States president Donald Trump and his penchant for gold. The artist was inspired to create a throne: a low-brow, gaudy, gold-painted and bejewelled toilet.

“That’s an easy one to like,” said Powell River Sunshine Gogos volunteer Maureen Tierney, who organized the event with Powell River Friends of the Library volunteer Pamela Brown.

SEATED AFFAIR: Shelley Thomson [left] and Sara Mitchell-Banks are among 70 artists who have created chairs with flare that will be up for bidding at Powell River Art Chair Auction. The event benefits Friends of the Library and Powell River Sunhine Gogos. David Brindle photo

Tierney became aware of art chair auctions while visiting Ashland, Oregon, with her husband. The couple then brought the idea to Hornby Island, where they lived at the time, as a fundraiser for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

“The first auction raised $28,000 in four hours,” said Tierney, adding that she has no expectations of reaching that figure and will be happy if $7,000 is raised.

Tierney approached Brown after determining the auction was too big of an undertaking for one group to organize and they joined together to promote the event as a fundraiser.

Proceeds will be shared equally by Friends of the Library and Sunshine Gogos, a group that raises money for the Lewis foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Chairs to be auctioned have all been donated by amateur and professional artists and include abstract, whimsical, political, satirical, cultural, realistic, graphic and landscape submissions, such as the chair donated by Sara Mitchell-Banks, who said she was inspired by trails around Duck Lake and Haslam Lake.

“It was a nod to all of the volunteers who spend so much time there and how much peace I’ve found on those trails,” said Mitchell-Banks. “I hike there with my dogs and find sanctuary in the forest.”

Tierney and Brown started collecting chairs in April 2016 and invited artists to create with abandon while using the unusual canvas.

“I was shocked so many people were excited about the whole idea and came and took chairs,” said Brown. “That was overwhelming, seeing how excited they were about the concept of doing something on a chair.”

The auction follows the same rules as highfalutin Sotheby and Christie’s fine art auctions. Chairs will be on display at Powell River Public Library until Friday, August 25, along with a bidding sheet for each piece. Bids will be placed in a sealed envelope and volunteers will represent bidders at the live auction. Sealed bids can be outbid during the live event.

Tierney said she cannot pick a favourite among the 70 chairs that will be auctioned off.

“I see one and say, ‘I really want that,’ and then I get attached to a different one,” she said.

Powell River Art Chair Auction takes place on Saturday, August 26, outside of the library at 100-6975 Alberni Street. Chairs will be available for public viewing at 12 pm; the live auction starts at 3 pm.

After participants register for an auction paddle, auctioneers Kim Wall and Heidi Leaman will initiate the bidding process.

For more information, go to Powell River’s Art Chair Auction on Facebook.

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