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Painting rockers for chairity

  • Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Christie Crosby paints a Blue Marlin on her Summerville ROCKS! chair, “Wishin’ I was Fishin’.”

Photos

Fine artist Christie Crosby has painted fish and marine life almost exclusively for most of her painting career, but she encountered a new challenge when she traded her canvas for a rocking chair.

Crosby is one of many artists and decorators participating in the upcoming Summerville ROCKS! public art project.

“I paint all the time. Not furniture though,” she laughed.

Summerville ROCKS! is both a beautification project and a fundraiser organized by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Greater Summerville.

Around 40 sponsors – businesses, organizations and individual people – have bought chairs, which will go on display around Summerville after volunteers have completed decorating them. The chairs will be featured in front of businesses, inside lobbies and at Town Hall from March 20 – May 31 until they’re auctioned off.

“I’m hoping that [the public] finds [my chair] attractive and that it’ll encourage them to participate in the auctions,” said Carole Bruno, who’s performance-themed chair has been on display at the James F. Dean Theater since January as a project promotion.

Bruno said she’s been painting for more than 15 years, but in her retirement has capitalized on the hobby and was excited to participate when she heard about Summerville ROCKS! through the Summerville Artist Guild.

“I already told them if they need me to paint an additional one for this year I would be glad to help,” Bruno said.

Julia Howell, a graphic designer, is also a member of the guild and discovered the project the same way. Her chair is decorated with the South Carolina state bird and state flower, the Carolina Wren and yellow jasmine.

“I really enjoyed working on this chair – it has allowed me to step out of my normal routine of painting on a flat surface. I love the challenge that has come from painting on a three dimensional object, and the best part is it’s going to help support Summerville charities,” she said.

A portion of the funds will be used to donate to local nonprofit organizations and the remainder will go toward funding the newly created Barnfield Arts Scholarship, in honor of retiring Dorchester District Two arts director Larry Barnfield.

The first scholarship will be awarded in spring 2015 to a graduating high school senior from Summerville who is pursuing a four-year arts education in college, according to Jane Orenstein of the Cultural Arts Alliance.

“I’d like to buy my chair,” said decorator Pat Britt of her chair titled “Circus.”

Britt, who has decorated several other chairs that are in use around her home, heard about Summerville ROCKS! while taking an art class at the senior center.

She said her chair, which is covered in vibrant colors, whimsical balloons, an animal print and the stripes of a “big top,” took about three weeks to complete. Britt said while she loved decorating her chair, she’s looking forward to seeing what others have done. “I’m just excited to see the variety of other people’s chairs,” said Britt. “Summerville has a lot of artists.”

On May 31 the chairs will be moved from their display locations to Summerville Country Club where they will be sold in live and silent auctions. Tickets for the event, which will include a barbeque, will go on sale in April.

To see pictures of all four chairs, visit www.JournalScene.com.

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