Friday, June 14, 2013

Local Artists Ready to "Rock" for KidStart, Livingston Arts August 15

With chairs as their canvases and everything from paint brushes to power tools as their instruments, more than 20 local artists are "Rockin' the Arts" to raise visibility and funds for two needed local not-for-profit agencies.

James Link's chainsaw-carved chair
will be one of more than 20 pieces at
the Rockin' the Arts auction and gala.
The artists' work will be front-and-center on Thursday, August 15 at the historic Sweet Briar estate in Geneseo for the first annual Rockin' the Arts gala to benefit Livingston Arts and KidStart, The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming's children's services program. As the evening's main attraction, their treasury of one-of-a-kind up-cycled and handmade chairs will be available to the highest bidders during the inaugural "Rockin' Art Chair Auction."

"I like being challenged with a specific theme for an artistic concept, and a chair also relates to my business," says Greg Johnson, of Johnson Family Restoration, one of the participating artists. "I know this is a way of showing the public some of what I do and of course the fundraiser is for a very good cause."

Greg's chair, which he has dubbed "Little Gold Windsor," fits the event by incorporating themes of art and childhood – with a playful twist on the latter.

"A child-size Windsor chair will be completely gilded with 23.5-karat gold leaf. The contradiction is a style of chair that has always been viewed as utilitarian – a seat for everybody, affordable to the masses – finished with the world's most precious metal, usually reserved only for royalty," he says, adding slyly, "Would you let your kid sit on it?"

Another distinctive contribution is an adjustable seat by James Link, of Carvings by Link, that recalls the classic winged logo of the rock band Aerosmith. The fine details of the feathers reveal themselves to be even more striking when you consider Link's medium; the piece was carved entirely by chainsaw.

Jeff Swift, a skilled metal craftsman and owner of Swift Custom Metal, also sees Rockin' the Arts as an appropriate venue to push the boundaries of his craft.

"For the auction, I wanted to build a prototype chair that was incredibly unique," he says. "The chair and matching light pendant I am submitting is one that I've been meaning to build for many years. It is technically, from a metal working standpoint, a very difficult piece to make. But I see this event as a nice opportunity to finally produce it and give it a chance at a home where it will be possibly a modern heirloom for someone to love and for a community that I'm grateful to be tethered to by many posts."

Others contributing one-of-a-kind chairs to the Rockin' the Arts gala and auction include Kathi Blaise, Patrice Case, Briana Coogan-Bassett, Cindy Costa, Derek Crocker, Rebecca Crocker, Roy Grisewood, Betsy Hoefen, Neena Johnson, Jim Jones, Lagom Landing, Kim Binaghi Lee, Mary Lee and Reggie Page, Maria Lombardo, Louise Michaud, James Myers, Cheri Natoli and Ken Richardson, Needles at Noon, Lauren Premo, Kala Stein, Sally Taylor, Julia Walker, and Matt Wurtenburg.

Proceeds from the auction and ticket sales for the event will be divided equally between Livingston Arts and KidStart. Livingston Arts enriches life in Livingston County by encouraging and promoting the arts and cultural activities. KidStart's special services, day care, and Head Start programs are unique because they serve children both with and without disabilities in an integrated setting.

Rockin' the Arts begins at 6:30pm with an auction preview, followed by hors d'oeuvres at 7:00pm. Bidding will commence at 8:00pm, and the auction will be followed by a concert by local favorites Flying Boxcar.

Attendance is limited, and tickets are on sale now for $35.00 each. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For details, visit or call Livingston Arts at (585) 243-6785.

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