Elizabeth Doney Havre Daily News email@example.com
With a cooperative effort that combined creativity with craftiness, 25 local artists concluded their Artists for Chairity Auction night with a benevolent reward $5,000 worth of sold chairs to benefit the Hi-Line Sletten Cancer Center. "It went very well. Most of the chairs sold and we made some good money for the Hi-Line Sletten Cancer Center," said Kris Shaw, president of Artitudes Gallery. "We wanted to do a chair-ity event, so we took a vote and it wasn't a very hard decision to decide to help wi th the Slet ten Cancer Institute. First of all, we have had artists in our cooperative gallery, Artitudes, who have had cancer. Jeanette Williams was one of our gallery artists and she died of cancer about a year ago. The event was also to honor her memory. Her photography was displayed during the auction and will continue to be displayed at Artitudes throughout the month." Shaw said that Artitudes also has another member who traveled to Seattle for cancer treatment this past year. "It's a hardship because of the expense it takes to travel that far. Sometimes she had to go alone and couldn't have the support of her family and friends right close by. That's the main thing to have a cancer center closer," Shaw said. "I've heard that a lot of people have a real hard time even just Going from here to Great Falls. Or there are people who are having a hard time getting a ride. When you get done with your treatment, you can go back to your own home and if you are from the Hi-Line, hopefully it makes the trip that much shorter." Shaw said that her father died of cancer and most of Artitudes' artist-members have had someone close to them who had cancer. "We did the Artists for Chairity Auction because we knew that they were looking for money to finish the building," Shaw said. "And we wanted to help." Planning for the Artists for Chair-ity Auction began in March with the Artitudes cooperative gallery co-owned by 13 showing artists, with additional members as stockholders. The auction featured the artwork on a unique and completely innovative medium chairs that were painted, sketched, laced up each reflecting the artist in a new way to express themselves, Shaw said. Several people from town found out that it was for a good cause and asked if they could paint a chair too," Shaw said. "It sounded like fun and we accepted them whole heartedly. We had a total of 36 chairs with three coming in the last two days. It takes a lot of time. Each chair takes a significant amount of time. We had a lot of supporters and putting the event together does take some work." The chair-ity event was hosted by all of the 13 Artitudes Gallery members along with 12 additional artists from the Hi-Line, Shaw said. "Each of us has a different strength that contributed to the chair-ity event," Shaw said. "Some of us called for sponsors, some of us collected chairs, some painted extra chairs, others helped with mailing and advertisement everyone did a little bit of something." Artitudes Gallery is beginning their third year of business from the modest beginnings of a local woman, Mary Nault, talking about how Havre needed a gallery and what is should be like. Later, several artists joined forces to go forward with the vision of a cooperative art gallery that would allow members to each have ownership, a place to showcase their artwork and a combined reason for keeping it going, Shaw said. It was with the assistance of Be a r Paw Deve l o pme n t Corporation who helped put out the word that artists were wanting to start an artist's gallery cooperative that formed the gallery's cooperative. All the artists were needing it because they would have shared ownership and would have a combined reason for keeping it going a common interest, Shaw said. The chairs sold for $5,000 in the auction and the Hi-Line Sletten Cancer Center was present to collect the proceeds from the chair sale. Artitudes did get the sales from the tickets to defray the cost of hosting the event, Shaw said. Guests were served Hors d'oeuvres and 15 West Bar and Eatery donated the liquor license fee for the night for a no-host bar. Non-alcoholic drinks were available in the gallery. Corey Holmes, a member and metal sculptor, recently attended an art auction training and he is a good auctioneer. He wasn't like the traditional western auctioneers, he spoke slower but the auction went rather quickly. "There was something for everyone," Shaw said. "The community had a good time. The chairs were really fun to look at and the reception was exceptional and we got many compliments." The artists will get together to paint once more this weekend and will be seen decorating the sidewalks during Festival Days and the Atrium Mall Carnival. They are also envisioning another fundraiser for the Hi-Line Sletten Cancer Center but not anytime soon maybe within the next year, Shaw said. For more information about Artitudes Gallery or upcoming events, call 265-2104.