Art Of Charity Plans One Final Event June 29

By: Tim Wood

The frame of this wood burning of a historic view of the Mitchell River Bridge was made of pieces of the old bridge. The piece will be auctioned at the Art of Charity event June 29.

CHATHAM – Save the date—June 29, at the Chatham VFW on George Ryder Road—for the Art of Charity's final swansong, really-and-truly-last-time event.
Local food trucks, music and a limited but extremely selective silent auction will be the highlights of the evening, which will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. It's the Art of Charity Foundation's way of saying so long and thanks to the community, said President Otis Russell.
“We're planning to dissolve the foundation at the end of the year,” said Russell. “This is our way of thanking the townspeople for their support over the years and raising one last chunk of money to give out to the kids.”
Fundraising isn't the chief goal of the event; there won't be a gala live auction like those the organization was known for in the past. But there will be a silent auction designed to help provide money to allow AOC to fund requests through the end of the year.
Established in 1994, the Art of Charity Foundation has raised and distributed more than $250,000 primarily to local organizations that work with young people as well as area schools. Initially focused on Chatham, the organization has been providing funding to teachers and programs in the Monomoy Regional School District since it was formed. Grants have been awarded for field trips to theatrical productions, in-school programs ranging from art exhibits to historical re-enactments and many other activities. Over the years AOC has also provided funding for Monomoy Community Services, the Chatham Children's Fund, and local scouting and sports groups.
For 11 years AOC held annual auctions at the end of June as a kick-off to the summer season; their last auction was in 2012 to commemorate the town's 300th anniversary. The events featured food, music and art donated by local professional artists as well as well-known locals not necessarily known for their art or craft creations. In additional, one-of-a-kind packages and special items—such as a catered dinner in the Eldredge Public Library and directing the Chatham Band during a Friday night band concert—were donated by local organization and businesses and cleverly put together by AOC's board members.
But after a quarter century, AOC officials are winding down to move on to other projects. This final event will be a thank you to donors, members of the community and the organizations that the group funded over the years, as well as one final demonstration of AOC's ability to devise fun, exciting and original auction items that are so locally focused that they are meaningful only to local residents.
Here's a few examples: AOC has found what may be the last, sealed edition of the Chathamopoly game, put out as a fundraiser by the schools many years ago, which will be auctioned along with several game original game pieces custom-made by Monomoy school students using 3D printer technology. The pieces includes a replica of the community center, a shark (naturally) and several others.
AOC also had the prescience to obtain pieces of the previous and historic Mitchell River Drawbridge, which have been fashioned into a frame around a wood burning of a historic view of the bridge.
Russell has also put together several of his well-known wine tasting events. And although Sharks in the Park is no more, AOC has found one of the last remaining shark cut-outs, which is being painted by artists Tilda Bystrom for auction at the event.
Several artists who supported AOC through the years, including Ginny Nickerson, will donate pieces for the silent auction. Although there will not be a live auction, Russell and AOC Vice President Tim Wood will provide running commentary on the silent auction which should serve as an adequate substitute.
Details on food trucks and music will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Nothing lasts forever,” Russell said in commenting on the organization's conclusion, adding that AOC members are proud of the work they've done over the years and the kids they've helped, and look forward to one last effort.