Art auction gives another uplift for library programs

Blake Coats served as the evening’s auctioneer for Weiser’s Friends of the Library art-chair auction last week. Between the sale of the beautifully painted antique folding chairs, a silent auction, donation jars, and ticket sales, the Friends raised $7,800 for funding educational activities at the library for both youth and adult patrons. Photo by Nancy Grindstaff
Nancy Grindstaff
Weiser’s Friends of the Library gained a nice boost for funding educational and reading activities at the Weiser Public Library after raising $7,800 during last week’s Art Chair Auction.
 Friends of the Library President Chris Courter said the total raised at the event included the sales of 16 antique Simmons Company folding wooden chairs, each one turned into unique art pieces by local artists. There was also three tables of silent auction items provided by library fans and patrons, generous donations deposited into jars on each table, and the generosity of The Market and Sunnyside Events.
 The chairs each brought impressive prices, with Kerri Galligar’s People’s Choice award winner garnering a top bid of $550. 
 St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Fr. Blake Coats, who is also a retired Weiser School District language arts and drama teacher, stepped up as the evening’s auctioneer, saying everything he knew about auctioneering he had learned on the internet the night before. 
 Coats had dug further into the history of the chairs, finding they were manufactured by the Simmons Company, which originated in Kenosha, Wisc. in 1870, making cheese boxes and wooden insulators. Within the next 10 years, the company began making woven wire mattresses, and by 1889 was producing spiral coil springs for mattresses.
 A 503(c) nonprofit, Courter said the Friends raise funds through a variety of means, plus go out for grants to provide STEM programs, visiting authors, story time snacks, book clubs, and many other special programs. Just the day after the art auction, they hosted the visiting Children’s Museum of Idaho’s Planetarium exhibit at the Vendome Events Center.
 Courter said the group does fundraising throughout the year to provide a wide variety of educational opportunities for both children and adults.  Fundraisers include gift basket raffles, annual book sales, and managing the annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Sale at the Vendome, this year’s set for Nov. 3 and 4, “but they just don’t make that kind of money.”
 “The goal last year was $15,000, and we realized that’s exactly what we spent,” she said. “So we want to have more money to start. We also donate money to both Pioneer and Park schools’ libraries.”
 Courter said the Friends membership has grown to around 25.
 “We’ve been getting some new members, which is really nice,” she said. “Some longtime members have retired, so it’s nice to have new people join us.
 “After the auction, I kidded Timbra and asked ‘what are we doing next year?’” Courter said. “But, she said, ‘I’ve got ideas.’ She’s always coming up with wonderful things.”


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