Painted rocking chairs benefit arts-related organizations

Barbara Hootman

The Black Mountain-Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce Marketing Council donated $1,000 each to the Swannanoa Valley Fine Arts League and the Black Mountain Center for the Arts.

“The marketing council developed ‘The Little Town that Rocks’ marketing campaign to help showcase the town to visitors by having local artists develop works that are on rocking chairs,” chamber executive director Bob McMurray said.

Tyson Furniture in Black Mountain sells the rocking chairs to the chamber below its cost, and local businesses and individuals sponsor the artistically decorated rockers.

“The first year, 2013, artist painted the chairs with works of art,” McMurray said. “Then the rockers were auctioned off in the fall of 2013 with over $6,000 raised for the Black Mountain Town Square.

“In 2014, we had photographers’ photos on boards attached to the chairs, and $2,000 was raised. The money went for marketing council projects like Holly Jolly (the town’s annual Christmas celebration), brochures, a billboard and locator maps for a ‘rocker crawl’ to find fan favorite rockers in town.

“In 2015, artists painted boards in oil or acrylic paint using beautiful scenes of the Valley. The sale proceeds were split with the chamber, the center for the arts and the art league, each receiving $1,000.”

Gale Jackson, executive director of the Black Mountain Center for the Arts, said she was thrilled for the center to have been one of the proceeds recipients of the Rocking Chair Project.

“The Black Mountain Center for the Arts has a mission of ‘bringing art to the people and people to the art,’” Jackson said. “This money supports our role as a community arts center in Black Mountain and helps us to continue to offer up to 30 classes a week in music, dance, writing, clay, painting and drawing - all taught by local artist instructors.

“We regularly have over 120 students at the center every week, ages 3 to 81. We serve those just starting out and those who want to hone their skills along with those who just want to expand their horizons. We believe that the arts are what create and bind the fabric of our local culture. This generous contribution comes from this community and goes back to this community, as it supports these vital programs in our historic downtown building.”

Susan Hanning, vice president of the Swannanoa Valley Fine Arts League said the group’s board of directors has not discussed plans for the use of the donation.