June 15, 2024


Spring is all about renewal and rebirth, which makes Conestoga’s Chairity Gala that much more appropriate, given it’s being held two days before the official start of spring.

The concept behind the event, which is being held at the Tannery in downtown Kitchener on March 18, is for interior decorating students in their second-year to find an old chair which they must then repurpose using an element of design such as texture, shape or colour, assigned to them on a per-group basis. The chairs, which must be completely functional, are then auctioned off at the gala and the funds raised are given to a charity of their choosing. This year’s charity is Anselma House, which helps women in crisis in Kitchener.

Students, working in groups of three, were given their assignments at the beginning of the school year and spent all of the first semester working on their chairs outside of class.

As well as designing the chairs, students spend much of the second semester planning and organizing the gala itself. Tasks include everything from booking and decorating the Tannery, to understanding the demographics that go into promoting an event of this size and selling tickets.

This gives students an opportunity to mix with the community and designers from the area.

The Chairity Gala gives the interior decorating program, which is only five years old, an opportunity to showcase what its students are capable of said Leah Scully, faculty member.

“Last year we had Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr and (Conestoga) President John Tibbits attend as well as several well-known area decorators and designers who donated their own repurposed chairs for the auction. Some of those chairs went for as high as $600 last year,” Scully said.

As well as designers and decorators from the area, this year Home Hardware has come on-board and donated $1,000 and a chair and has promised to be a partner for future galas, which gives the event even more credibility within the community.

“Last year’s event raised close to $6,000 and we donated $3,500 to the Hospice of Waterloo Region. It blew away all expectations we had for the event, so we have some big shoes to fill for this year’s gala,” Scully said.

Tickets for the gala are $20 and are available from Leah Scully in her office in Room 2A606 at the Doon campus as well as from any interior decorating student.