Norcross Arts Alliance members, art teachers and other educators gathered at The Nest on Wednesday to kick off the Chairs for Charity event at a mix and mingle.
Chairs for Charity is an annual fundraiser where art teachers at Norcross-area schools sell chairs and other home items to raise money for every school's art department. Decorated by the school's students, the items are auctioned off every October at the Norcross Art Fest.
"It just became a great thing that involved our schools," said Frances Shube. Shube, along with Cindy Flynn, own SplashFestivals, which is the organization in charge of the art fest. "[The students] can feel like being a part of the art festival, too."
New this year is a partnership with Binders Art Supply, whose owner, Howard Krinsky, agreed to give $200 gift cards to every school to help with decorating the furniture.
"It's all about the partnerships," said Arlene Beckles, the chair for the Norcross Arts Alliance. "Binders is in Buckhead, and [the owner] is reaching out to us up here in Norcross just to make sure that the art teachers get something this year."
Lori Sturgess, owner of The Nest, also offered salvaged items to teachers to help decorate the chairs. Additionally, inside the arts incubator donated two painted chairs.
The schools participating this year include: Hopewell Christian Academy, Norcross Elementary, Stripling Elementary, Beaver Ridge Elementary, Summerour Middle, Norcross High, Norcross Elementary, Peachtree Elementary, Simpson Elementary and Meadowcreek High, which has not been involved in Chairs for Charity before.
Because Norcross High has five art teachers, the school received two $200 gift cards from Binders.
Even though "chairs" is in its name, the fundraiser also is known for selling other home furniture items and accessories, too. The Norcross Arts Alliance and other members scouted garage sales, thrift stores and other places this year for various items such as TV trays, wall cabinets, Lazy Susans, ironing boards and tables.
And while there may be lots of items at this year's art fest, customers shouldn't wait until the last minute to bid on their desired pieces. Things can get heated at the Chairs for Charity auction table.
"It gets pretty competitive," said Natalie McNeal, the co-chair for the NAA. She added that she's had personal experience with the roughness from others last year when she snagged a Harry Potter chair.
The Chairs for Charity event was able to raise $2,400 last October, and Beckles said the NAA's goal is to raise even more funds this time around.
The Norcross Art Fest is Saturday, Oct. 6, and Sunday, Oct. 7. If you have furniture or art supplies that you would like to donate to the cause, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.