MERIDEN — Attendees found themselves surrounded by chairs of all shapes, sizes, colors, and material at Galley 53 and the South Meriden Lions Club’s 11th annual CHAIR-ity and wine tasting event Friday night.
“I go to Savers, buy the chairs,” Chris Webster, president of Gallery 53, said. “We have them paint them. Young, old, whoever wants to.”
The annual event raises money for Gallery 53 through the sale of specialty chairs designed by local artists.
“Some from high schoolers, art teachers, a lot of art teachers. Some former students of the gallery.” Webster said. “I was a teacher, I call up some of my teacher friends, but I really don’t have to ask them. They just come and do it.”
Artists had complete creative control when it came to designing their chairs. Although many were painted with fun designs, others took it a step further and created chairs made from ties, mosaics, and flower pots filled with real soil and flowers.
On Wednesday before the event, chair-artists were invited to a paint-night at the gallery in preparation.
“People did it on their own, too,” Webster said. “But everyone’s invited.”
Although years prior the chairs were auctioned off, this year they tagged each chair with the artist’s name and price.
“We just found it to be easier,” Webster said. “People wouldn’t like what their chair sold for sometimes. It’s just easier.”
At a cost of $20-$25 per ticket, attendees could, in addition to the chair sale, sample nine different wines provided by the South Meriden Lions Club.
“We just love being part of the event,” said Anita Pelletier, president of the South Meriden Lions Club. “They are just wonderful to work with.”
Pelletier said the club and the gallery had worked together since the event started.
“We raise money for the community,” Pelletier said. “They’re raising money, benefiting the community. It’s something we both support.”