For six weeks, a few dozen budding Racine artists have toiled to transform dowdy donated chairs and other furniture into works of art.
Today was payday.
The Main Gallery program's annual Chair-i-ties auction took place to enthusiastic bidding under sunny skies in Monument Square this morning. Bidders chose among chairs, side tables, coffee tables -- even a brightly painted sled.
In all, the auction raised $7,850. Don't get the impression the kids didn't care how much their projects sold for, just because the money goes to fund next year's program, which is run by the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department, in collaboration with the Racine Arts Council.
They cared, all right. Often the artists themselves held up their own project during bidding, encouraging the crowd, talking up the artwork.
Top seller was "Something Seasonal," a bench painted by Maggie Prioletta and Evan Hoffman. It went for $600. A table, "Up and Out," by Alex Weyenberg sold for $525, according to Michael Rude, projects director of the Racine Arts Council.
The Main Gallery program started 13 years ago, modeled after a similar program in Chicago. Youths 14-19 work under professional instruction for about 18 hours per week, earning $6.35 an hour. Furniture was decorated in a variety of media, from paint to ceramics to photography.
Mailboxes were part of silent auction, which hasn't been tallied