Thursday, October 23, 2014

BY CHELSEA JENSEN

WEST HAWAII TODAY

cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com

Inspiration for creations to benefit the Rotary Club of Kona Sunrise's first-ever Chairs for Charity scholarship event can come from anywhere or anything.

For local woodworker Rod Crisp, the inspiration for his chair, which raises funds for local art students looking to take their education to the next level, came from Kailua-Kona's Hulihee Palace. The chair, which is actually the second chair in a series inspired by the palace, features inlaid and overlaid bamboo and koa.

"The palace has a little class and it's stately," said Crisp, who is also president of the Rotary Club of Kona Mauka. "The square lines and trueness inspired me."

Crisp's chair is just one of at least 16 chairs and several surfboards that local artists, and one mainland artist, have added their own flare to in an effort to raise funds for area students interested in the arts to further their education, said Laura Kniffin, a Rotary Club of Kona Sunrise member and event chairperson.

The artists' creations, which also includes not only painted, but also handcrafted chairs and barstools, will be auctioned off during the club's Chairs for Charity event slated for 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel. Kniffin hopes to raise about $3,000 for scholarships during the event.

"How else do we get the artists involved? They want to help students looking to pursue the arts since they know how hard it was to go to school and do what they wanted," Kniffin said. "This is a new venue for an annual scholarship fundraiser to reach students primarily interested in the arts. Jocks have their money, nerds have their money, but it's difficult for those interested in the arts."

The idea for the event came from Kniffin's involvement in a similar function in South Carolina about 12 years ago. There, she bought a chair featuring a painting by a well-known artists in the area for $200, which she still has today and said has gained in value.

That chair ultimately inspired her when earlier this year the club was looking for another venue to raise scholarships for local students, she said.

"We wanted to do something different to raise scholarships for students predominantly in the arts," she said about selecting the Chairs for Charity event. And, when she put out the call for artists in October, they came out in "droves to help."

Tickets to the event cost $38. For more information, including to purchase tickets or a table, call Kniffin at 854-9075.

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