While some art experts might advise against buying a painting to match their furniture, they perhaps haven’t considered the idea of a chair being art.
Through the Chairs for Charity art auction, this idea of helping the community in a creative way has come to life.
The designers and furniture specialists at Fargo’s InterOffice decided to celebrate their new location, 1630 First Ave. N., while also giving back to the community.
They asked local artists to submit their ideas to turn the iconic Eames molded plastic side chair from Herman Miller into something even more artistic and unique. The resulting chairs, vinyl wrapped with four selected designs, will now be auctioned off to benefit Lend A Hand Up, which provides financial help and hope for families affected by a medical crisis.
Four artists’ designs were selected out of 40 submissions for the Chairs for Charity auction. The artwork of Nicole Gagner, Mitchel Hoffart, Jennifer Junker and Leigh Nelson has been translated to vinyl to cover each chair, a classic piece of furniture designed by Charles and Ray Eames that first appeared on the market in 1950.
It’s no surprise that art and furniture have a long-standing but sometimes tumultuous relationship. While blank walls lend an obvious invitation for art, the rest of the space includes a multitude of other elements vying for attention. But with this auction, which wraps up Friday, Sept. 20, art has found its way into the space of functionality.
Consider the role of the chair you might be sitting in right now. Could it be considered art, or mere architecture, a combination of angles and measurement?
“We initially thought [the artist’s chair] would be more of an art piece that wouldn’t be used, just kept on display,” says Sarah Huckle, workspace expert at InterOffice. “But by using a vinyl wrap, people will actually be able to use it.”
At the heart of the cause, InterOffice worked with Lend A Hand Up to make a real financial impact.
“Everything raised goes to the families, because the program’s administrative costs are underwritten by Dakota Medical Foundation,” says Jeana Peinovich, Lend A Hand Up’s director.
Since launching in 2008, the organization has raised $16.7 million to help 515 families, she says.
Lend A Hand Up provides resources to help families with significant expenses related to medical costs, travel costs, lost wages or other expenses. According to Peinovich, 53% of the families are dealing with cancer, while others face unplanned accidents.
Translating the artwork to each chair required real collaboration with Office Sign Co., including converting each artist’s work into a vinyl wrap.
“This is a truly unique piece. I’ve never seen chairs wrapped, period,” says Office Sign Co.’s Jack Yakowicz, the account manager handling InterOffice’s unique request. “It’s a cool way to support Lend A Hand Up and actually receive a keepsake from a great cause. It speaks to the arts community’s ability to transcend so many different industries and be collaborative.”
The Chairs for Charity auction was made possible thanks to the collaboration of Lend A Hand Up, Office Sign Company and The Arts Partnership.
Bidding for the Chairs for Charity auction begins Monday, Sept. 16, and closes at 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20. Four chairs will be on display throughout the week at InterOffice, 1630 First Ave. N., Fargo. Proceeds will be split between the artist and Lend A Hand Up.
Bid in person at InterOffice, or online at theartspartnership.net/auction.
This article is part of a content partnership with the Fargo Forum and appeared in print on Monday September 16, 2019.