September 23, 2020

By SPENCER BEEBE

While many students were studying hard for tests and writing research papers, students of the interior decorating program had a bit more on their plate.
At the beginning of the fall semester, second-year students were put in groups and tasked with finding an old, broken chair to fix and turn into a beautiful piece of art.

On Nov. 25 the completed chairs were ready to shine. The artful antiques were displayed in the atrium, where the proud students presented their masterpieces to their peers. Some were flashy, with bright bangles, chains, club lights and a built-in music player, while others were flowery, with ornate patterns of earthen design. Every chair on display was fashionable, functional and looked quite comfortable.
“We were all assigned an element for our chair,” said Barb Simon, who was part of the group that created a pair of seats they dubbed Sonny and Chair. The two chairs were lavishly decorated; one had the appearance of a stylish suit while the other wore an elegant ball gown.

“We embellished ours with a suit, jewelry, a bowtie … even little cufflinks,” she said.
Leslee Squirrell, the program co-ordinator for the interior decorating program, explained the details of the assignment further.
“They each get an element of design, and it’s their job to use fabrics and finishes to interprete that element,” she said.
The lovely chairs aren’t just for display, however – each year in March the chairs created by these students are placed in a silent auction fundraiser called Chairity. The event has brought in between $10,000 and $12,000 in the past.

“I’m hoping we’ll go over $12,000 this year,” Squirrell said. “I’m pleased and proud of the chairs on display today.”
Interested in seeing more of these wonderfully designed reincarnations? Check out www.spokeonline.com for a video showcasing the event and some of the redesigned chairs.

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