Have a seat in Southwick

SOUTHWICK – Easthampton has bears and West Springfield has terriers, but here in Southwick, life on the lakes is a bit more casual and chairs have become a laid-back form of art.
The Southwick Cultural Council is auctioning off 15 hand-painted wood chairs during its Have A Seat in Southwick No-Beach Beach Party July 28 from 3-6 p.m. at Town Hall. Cultural Council Member Pat McMahon said Council members noticed surrounding communities’ public displays of art in the form of large, iconic decorated fiberglass pieces, such as animals and airplanes.
“We looked into that and it’s quite costly,” said McMahon. “We’re a small community without a large industrial base, but we wanted to do some sort of public art display.”
The idea of painted chairs came to McMahon when she and her husband Michael attended an RV and camping show at the Eastern States Exposition. There was a booth for wooden Pioneer Chairs made in New Hampshire and McMahon’s creative juices began to flow.
“I thought it would be something different, portable and affordable,” she said. The Cultural Council agreed and made a call for artists. The result is 15 very unique and functional works of art intended for outdoor use, or to display.
“As far as design, we left it up to the artists,” said McMahon.
From a tribute to Sunnyside Ranch (Now The Ranch Golf Club) by Carolyn Avery of Southwick, to “The Hottest Seat in Southwick” by Kyle Hildreth of Feeding Hills, each chair offers a different theme.
“It’s a good solid chair and people will have a nice piece of art,” McMahon said. “The will look great on a patio or deck.”
Other chairs up for auction include “Peacock On Wood” by Southwick artist Jennifer Bruno, “The White Sails” by Westfield artist Jennifer Kowalski, and “Peas and Carrots” by Dorene Pennell of Granby.
McMahon said the artists were instructed to keep the chair “sittable” when creating their work of art. During the event, an unpainted chair will also be on display for people to have a seat and test it out.
“They’re actually very comfortable,” said McMahon.
Money raised from the auction will benefit Southwick Cultural Council’s educational programs.
“The state has cut back on funding for cultural and art activities so this will supplement that,” said McMahon.
The beach-themed event will feature live music from The Charlie Galvin Band, as well as tropical beverages and beach-style appetizers. The Cultural Council obtained a one-day liquor license for the event and will have frosty margaritas and pina coladas to continue the party vibe. Auction registrants of-age will be issued two tickets for alcoholic beverages when they check-in. There is no limit on non-alcoholic drinks. The event is free to the public.
Several chairs are on display through Friday afternoon at Moolicious and Diane Mason Insurance.
Cash, checks and charge payments will be accepted at the time of the auction. Have A Seat In Southwick Beach Party begins at 3 p.m. with an artists reception. The auction will take place at 4 p.m.
“It’s going to be a great event, and it’s been a lot of fun to plan,” said McMahon.

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