Art connoisseurs are encouraged to consider taking a seat for a good cause.
During the month of August, Whidbey Island Nourishes, a South Whidbey nonprofit organization that focuses on providing food for kids, will be hosting an online auction featuring 15 Adirondack chairs that have been hand-painted by local artists.
Aptly titled the Chair-ity Trail, it’s the biggest fundraiser WIN has been able to host since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mary Ann Stine, the vice president for the organization’s board of directors, said she borrowed the idea from the Cape Cod community she recently visited. Chairs painted by artists were sitting out in front of storefronts.
“The more I looked at it, the more I thought, ‘You know, we could do this,’” she said.
By following a map on the website chairity-trail.com, people can view the chairs now on display at a variety of familiar locations, the bulk of which are located in downtown Langley. A QR code beside the chairs can be scanned to learn more about WIN.
Artists were given a three-month window to paint and were told they needed to have a “Whidbey-inspired” theme, Stine said.
“Every single chair was completely different,” she said. “I never thought about art being this diverse.”
Michael Dickter, who co-owns the art gallery Museo with his wife, has his chair on display there. A painter of birds, it only felt natural that his chair should feature a heron.
“I put a bird on it,” he said.
Upon closer inspection, a hummingbird painted on one arm of the chair is also visible.
Some locations on the map will bring people out further, such as the Venture Out Nursery to see “Garden by the Sea,” painted by Liesel Lund.
“I wanted to create a whole chair that felt like summer, it felt like Whidbey, it felt like it was both peaceful and relaxing but it was also uplifting and joyful,” she said.
Her colorful creation was a challenge when it came to painting the slats of the deck chair.
“If I didn’t thoroughly get in every little groove, you get to the angle and it glares,” she said. “You can see it, even if you turn it upside down.”
Over at Bayview Farm and Garden, Deborah Montgomerie’s chair “Tulip Mania” can be found.
A botanical artist, Montgomerie has always been inspired by tulips, ever since her grandmother took her to the Keukenhof Gardens in Amsterdam when she was a child.
“I was really struck by it, and when I came here to live and I went to the Skagit Valley, it was the same thing,” she said. “I was just completely excited to see the rivers of tulips and it brought it all back to me.”
She grows several unusual varieties of tulips, including Queen of the Night, El Nino, Virichic, Foxtrot, Spring Break and Lady Jane.
Stine said it was her goal to bring different parts of the community together with the Chair-ity Trail.
“My dad owned a shoe store in Oak Harbor. That’s where I grew up. He was always about community,” she said. “It’s always struck me, as long as I’ve lived here on the South End, that we have so many wonderful parts of our community.”