A number of Pittsburgh-area artists have decorated 35 pieces of children's furniture and toys, and donated the pieces to a Saturday auction that will raise money for a nonprofit early-childhood education center.
The "Chair-ity," auction, the first of its kind from Heritage Community Initiatives, features colorfully decorated chairs, cradles, dollhouses and wagons with quirky designs from artists to be sold through a silent auction. A live auction will be held for five of the biggest items, including a Penguins chair autographed by Mario Lemieux.
Proceeds will benefit the organization's Heritage 4 Kids Early Learning Center in Braddock, which offers preschool programs for kids in the Braddock and Mon Valley areas, including Duquesne, Homestead and Trafford. About 95 percent of the families with kids at the center receive federal and state subsidies, says Michele Atkins, president and chief executive officer of Heritage Community Initiatives.
"We went to the artistic community," she says, "and they were amazingly receptive to the idea."
Money raised at the event first will go toward building a toddler playground at the Braddock center. Leftover funds will help expand the center's butterfly and vegetable gardens outside.
The Heritage organization aims to help people become physically, emotionally, socially and economically independent. The program's focus includes helping young people succeed in school, providing transportation to workers living in isolated communities and providing employment training and job-search support.
"Chair-ity" Children's Furniture Auction and Cocktail Party is planned for 6 p.m. Saturday at the Renaissance Hotel, Downtown. Admission is $150, and benefits Heritage Community Initiatives. Details: 412-351-0535 or www.heritageserves.org.
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