These days, lumber isn’t cheap.
When organizers with The Best Seat in the House Chair-ity Auction noted the high price and demand for wood in 2022, they opted to use upcycled found chairs, tables, and mirrors instead of the traditional Adirondack-style chairs.
Except for that, the fundraiser operates the same as always: 16 artists get a piece to decorate; the items get auctioned off at 5 p.m. on March 12 at The Tiki Bar & Grill. Funds benefit the Gulfport Senior Center Foundation.
While the live auction focuses on the chairs (hence the name) the fundraiser features several “looking glasses” (mirrors) paired with tables and seats.
“In the past, the chairs were built for us,” said Chair-ity organizer Karen Love. “But this year we have an eclectic combination of found chairs and little vignettes.”
To add to the fun, artists selected their pieces months ago at a cocktail party. Each creator drew a number that corresponded with a different piece of furniture.
“I got the one I wanted,” said participating artist Eric Folsom with a laugh. “It was a great project, I hope it’s received well.”
Folsom’s piece (he calls it The Green Flash) is a table with a wide, hexagonal top. The Gulfport metal artist forged a school of bronze fish and carved Gulf of Mexico inspired designs onto the wood.
“I kind of like that all the pieces were so unique and different this year. It’s another opportunity to make art, and art is not always made just to make money for yourself.”
Though many of the chosen artists are well known for their art in Gulfport, it’s each creator’s first time participating in the annual event.
“We’ve never repeated an artist,” Love told The Gabber. “We want to give as many people as possible the chance to participate … If we haven’t asked someone yet it’s probably because there are so many to choose from.”
Currently, the fundraising furniture sits partially in storage and partially in Love’s Gulfport home. She and other organizers hope their debut on March 12 will be a successful one.
Last year’s total raised was lower than previous years and came in at around $7,400.
Their debut will hopefully bring in a large sum for the Senior Center Foundation this year.
“I’m just honored to be a part of it,” said artist Tracey Satter-McCue. “I love to rehash things from junk and make them into beautiful pieces … it’s therapeutic for me.”