Rockin’ for the arts

  • Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Taylor Griffith/Journal Scene Rocking chairs are a part of Summerville iconography, and the Cultural Arts Alliance of Greater Summerille plans to use them as the cornerstone of their new fundraiser.


The rocking chair is an emblem of Southern life, and the Cultural Arts Alliance of Greater Summerville is happy to use its popularity to its advantage with the launch of a new public art and philanthropy project, “Summerville ROCKS.”

The plan is simple: Get area businesses and community organizations to sponsor a rocking chair for $100, have volunteers decorate the chairs, put them on display around town, and auction them off at the end of May.

The result? A town beautification project, fundraiser for area non-profits and a new arts scholarship and “hopefully,” said organizer Jane Orenstein, a new Summerville tradition.

Orenstein got the idea for Summerville ROCKS after seeing a similar project using Adirondack chairs while house sitting in Massachusetts last summer. “I saw this article and thought ‘Well we could do that! But instead of Adirondack chairs we can use rocking chairs,’” she said.

After spreading the word of the rockers to friends and community members, several people jumped on the idea and Summerville ROCKS was born.

“I’m really excited,” said group member Bill Iverson. “If this project is successful it will enlarge the concept of Summerville.”

The organizers are starting to publicize the project to businesses and organizations throughout the Summerville area that might want to participate.

The first sponsor – The Flowertown Players – signed on last week with the goal of having the first chair on display in time for the “Rent” opening night on Jan. 17, said Monica Shows, vice president of the theater’s board of directors.

The Flowertown Players are ahead of the game, but not by much; the project deadlines are fast approaching.

The group’s goal is to recruit most of their sponsors by Jan. 31 so sponsors can spend Feb. 1 – Feb. 15 being matched with a volunteer decorator and going over design plans. The decorators have to be finished with their jobs by Feb. 28, in time for a ribbon-cutting ceremony when the chairs will go on display inside and outside the sponsors’ respective storefronts.

Throughout the months of March, April and May the chairs will be on exhibit until the final event on May 31 – a live and silent auction of the chairs at Summerville Country Club with guest emcee, Mayor Bill Collins.

In addition to canvasing area businesses, the organizers also attended the Town Council meeting Jan. 8 and presented the councilmembers with miniature rocking chairs in anticipation of the event.

The goal, Orenstein said, is for the organization to raise as much money as they can in order to donate to various community charities and create a scholarship for a local arts student..

“They [the Massachusetts project] raised $10,000 with 50 chairs, who knows what we can do,” she said.

Interested decorators may contact Jan Dalton at 843-696-6445. Interested sponsors may contact Jane Orenstein at 843-860-3787.

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