At the moment, the seven wooden pews all look the same. But by the end of May, they’ll be transformed into unique works of art thanks to seven local artists.
In Praise of Pews is the latest fundraising effort from the Nelson Grans to Grans society, which raises funds to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.
A lineup of artists including illustrator Murray Kimber, fibre artist Angelika Werth and metalworker Brian Malley will spend several months reworking pews originally housed in the First Baptist Church. At the same time, youth at the Nelson and District Youth Centre will make over five chairs taken from the old Willow Point church.
Irene McIlwane, In Praise of Pews coordinator, says she’s hoping the project’s youth artists will be inspired to learn more about the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. She’s also hoping some local businesses will see buying a bench as “good advertising,” for a good cause.
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the businesses of Nelson to give something to the Stephen Lewis Foundation,” she adds. “And they’ll have this lovely bench, a unique piece of art done by a Nelson artist.”
In May, all 12 pieces will go on display at Grid Art Gallery, and on sale via an online auction. Members of the public will also be asked to drop by the gallery and vote for their favorite piece. The winner of the vote receives a two-week trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
A reception announcing the winners of both the vote and the auction is slated for late May.