Sewickley Galley Walk Makes Autism Speak!

View and Read the Story Behind Kait's "Captain's Chair" Donated to Autism Speaks!

This year Explore Sewickley has put together their 1st annual Gallery Walk chair fundraiser and I was stoked that I was asked to be apart of it and paint a chair. The event was created and inspired by a similar gallery walk in Baltimore that Sewickley native John Dunn attended. The gallery walk consists of multiple Sewickley businesses up and down the main streets of Beaver and Broad showcasing and placing their artists painted chairs up for bid. Each chair is on display outside of the store fronts for the two days of April 15th and April 16th where portions of proceeds will go to Autism Speaks.  Each artist is given a handmade and primed Adirondack chair and is given free creative range to do whatever they'd like with their chair. So let's get into how and why I painted the chair the way that I did.

Most people at first sight would probably look at my chair and say, " Oh, it's a Pittsburgh Penguins chair." However, there's a lot more than meets the eye with the logic and message behind the mighty penguin....

Kait's " The Captain's Chair"

Kait's " The Captain's Chair"

Back view of the " The Captain's Chair"

Back view of the " The Captain's Chair"

I personally like to create my work based off of the theme of the event so when I heard proceeds of the chair auction were going to benefit Autism Speaks I immediately thought puzzle pieces. For those of you who do not know, puzzle pieces are the symbol to represent Autism Speaks. For days I was really fixated on creating all kinds of puzzle pieces on the chair to almost look like one giant puzzle. Then reality sank in. How many people are really going to buy a chair for their home with puzzle pieces all over it? I want to raise as much money as possible and something that people will want to bid on and actually use in their home so I wanted a more general theme.

I decided to go with a Pens themed chair solely for the fact they have blue jerseys. April 2nd is national Autism Awareness Day where to bring awareness people wear blue as Autism's signature color. The blue Pittsburgh Penguins jerseys are were originally worn in the late 1960's to 1980 until the recent throwback occasions that we see today. So knowing these jersey's were vintage I decided to go with a "distressed" vintage look to the chair. It's hard to tell from the photos, but the chair has a little bit of a white-wash paint job to it as I also roughed it up with some sand paper. I didn't want to go overboard with the distressed look because the jersey's are old, but their not THAT old. I also hand painted the teams vintage penguin logo in the middle. To add something to the empty space of the chair I added the captains C to the corner. Then a light bulb went off in my head which made the obvious decision to name the chair "The Captain's Chair".

I didn't feel the need to put anyone's name and jersey number on the back of the chair. I wanted it to be left to interpretation that everyone is the captain when they sit in "The Captain's Chair". Instead this was my opportunity to add in the puzzle pieces I desperately wanted in the first place. I wanted them on the front with my original design, but as I started creating the jersey I didn't want people to get too distracted. So I only added two puzzle pieces on the back because I wanted to show and represent Autism Speaks, but also to represent missing puzzle pieces. The thing with Autism is honestly we don't  know all the answers. We don't have all of the pieces. We know a great deal, but there are still some pieces missing from the puzzle. This is why I'm proud to have painted this chair to raise money to help put all the pieces together.

The Sewickley Chair Gallery Walk will take place on Friday, April 15th from 5-9pm and Saturday the 16th from 10-4:45pm. During the Gallery Walk, people can walk around and place their bids. Winners will be announced on April 16th after 5pm. My chair will be on Beaver St. in front of the Sewickley Gallery and Frame Shop across the the Citgo gas station. To learn more about the gallery walk and other activities in the Sewickley community please visit http://www.exploresewickley.com.  To learn more about Autism and Autism Speaks please visit https://www.autismspeaks.org.