Chairy works of art on the block at Cherry Valley School auction
By JOHN STROMNES of the Missoulian
POLSON - Again this year, the students, teachers and art docents at Cherry Valley School have brought fine art down to eye level, and even a little below, with their paint-a-chair art appreciation program.
This is the third year Edna Lemm's Art Docent program has produced "Cherry Valley Takes a Seat," in which students and artists from the community collaborate by painting old (but perfectly functional) wooden chairs in the style of a famous artist - Picasso, Klee, van Gogh, O'Keeffe, and so on.
'"Each class has one or more docents - volunteers who are trained to give an art lesson - who come into the classroom on a monthly basis. They teach the students about a famous artist and then do a project related to the style or subject matter of that artist by decorating a chair," Lemm said.
The chairs are obtained through donations, thrift shops and a few are purchased from antiques stores in Missoula. They are all wooden chairs, all refurbished and repaired by Lemm's husband Mike, a professional woodworker.
After the chairs are completed in January, Lemm puts them on display at businesses all over Polson. They are returned to school early in February for the silent auction. People can bid online and do not have to be present to win. Last year, bids were received via the Internet from all over the country. The highest winning bid was $325 for a chair in the style of Edgar Degas.
The auction concludes at 7 p.m. Feb. 8 during the Cherry Valley Night of the Arts, an open house when students' artwork - and chair-work - will be on display, and a variety of other artistic and musical entertainment is provided.
Last year the auction raised $4,113 for the program, Lemm said. It involves students in 15 classes of the elementary school in Polson.