Leftover chairs redecorated, will raise money for Mt. Lebanon Public Library
April 18, 2013 8:45 AM
Decorated chairs line up, ready for sale, in Mt. Lebanon library director Cynthia Richey's office.
By Harry Funk
Books will take a back seat to chairs at Mt. Lebanon Public Library on Friday.
In October, the library received a new supply of furniture, leaving plenty of old pieces left over.
"The furniture wasn't in bad shape but couldn't be refinished without great cost," said Cynthia Richey, library director.
So, a couple of library workers came up with a solution.
Holly Visnesky, senior librarian in the children's department, suggested having members of the community use their creativity with the library's leftover chairs. And Mimi Ingalls, senior library assistant, had the idea of holding a CHAIRity Sale, during which about 80 chairs will be sold in a silent auction.
The chairs have been painted, covered in découpage, wood-burned and in one case "yarn-bombed," with the chair wrapped in crocheted thread. Participants varied from children to adults, amateurs to professional artists.
"They were free to let their imaginations run wild," Ms. Ingalls said. "They had anywhere from three to five months."
The goal was to schedule the CHAIRity Sale as Mt. Lebanon's culminating event for this week's National Library Week. The sale will be held at 6 p.m. Friday followed by a social.
"This is one of the major activities because it involves the whole community and showcases the library as a community center," Ms. Richey said. "Plus it's a great way to raise money."
Her office has served as one of the storage areas for an array of colorful chairs displaying a variety of creative efforts.
Library staff member Beth Evans, for example, painted the familiar orange-and-white cover of P.D. Eastman's classic children's book "Go, Dog. Go!" For the high bidder, a copy of the book is included.
Betty Disque, a local costume designer, decorated a chair with a Southwest theme, intricately detailing the seat and backrest with paint and raised elements.
Two young girls decorated a chair with pictures of candies and cakes and will auction it as a "Sweet Seat."
"When their dad was ready to bring it to the library, they couldn't bear to part with it and burst into tears," Ms. Richey said. But their story will have a happy ending: "The dad is going to buy it because it means so much to them."
The silent auction will start with an artist-suggested opening bid on each chair, and those in attendance have an hour to compete for their favorites. In the meantime, the Jefferson Middle School Jazz Band, Mt. Lebanon High School String Quartet and South Hills Flute Choir will provide entertainment.