Some of the participants in The Rise Community Association’s celebrity art auction show their artwork in progress at the Vernon Community Arts Centre. Included are Bob Coombes (back from left)

Some of the participants in The Rise Community Association’s celebrity art auction show their artwork in progress at the Vernon Community Arts Centre. Included are Bob Coombes (back from left)

Celebrities/artists ‘Rise’ for a cause

The Rise Community Association’s celebrity art auction is in support of new beds for Vernon Women’s Transition House.

Sonja Gaudet surveys the painting she has been working on with Lynne Gayan at the Vernon Community Arts Centre.

On the canvas, a woman sits cross legged, her back facing the viewer, her outline drawn onto a colourful backdrop of the main chakra colours, or energy centres, of the body.

“The colours of the different chakras are in order in relation to the woman’s figure,” explains Gaudet, who plans to paint the words breathe, balance and believe on her work of art.

“They are three words that mean a lot to me. The balance down the woman’s back is most significant,” says Gaudet.

As a multiple gold medal Paralympic curler, Gaudet is used to throwing stones and sweeping them in to hit the button. But lately, the world’s most decorated wheelchair curler has been using a different kind of brush to express not only something that is relative to herself, but to a cause that helps women and their children escape abusive and violent situations.

Gaudet is one of a number of local celebrity artists who has been paired with a local artist to either paint a canvas, turn wood, sculpt clay, or use a camera to create a special piece of art that will be auctioned off at a fundraiser to support Vernon Women’s Transition House.

Hosted by The Rise Community Association, money raised from the auction, to be held at Freddy’s Patio at The Rise Golf Club July 5, will go towards the purchase of new beds at Vernon’s Transition House, which provides a safe shelter, meals and emotional support for women and their children as they transition into their new lives free of violence.

“It was decided last summer that the residents of The Rise community would not only support but host a fundraiser for a local Vernon charity,” said Rise resident and artist coordinator Jo-Ann Rasmussen. “Even though there are many worthwhile causes, we decided to put our efforts behind Women’s Transition House… with the goal of buying as many captain’s beds as we can to help them maximize space in their home.”

Celebrity artists not only include world elite athletes, but local politicians and news makers.

A familiar voice on local radio station Kiss FM, Frank Martina has been working with wood-turner Bob Coombes at the VCAC to create a functional piece of art that will be signed by its creator.

“We are creating a pepper mill that started as a block of wood,” said Martina. “It wasn’t until I ran across Bob that I knew what a lathe was.”

The Morning Star’s very own sports editor Kevin Mitchell is also learning to stick handle a paintbrush, working with artist Lorraine Betts on a painting showing hockey players from the recent RBC Memorial Cup held in Vernon.

“I told Lorraine I am the worst Pictionary player on the planet,” said Mitchell, who only got through high school art with the help of his gal pals. “I can barely trace a circle, but with Lorraine’s patience and guidance, I’m actually putting together a masterpiece. I expect the painting to fetch at least $25.”

Like Mitchell and Martina, Gaudet says she has appreciated the guidance and instruction from her mentor artist.

“I’m a perfectionist so I’ve had to let go of some of my expectations and think intuitively… Lynne is also a perfectionist but she has taught me to also listen to her ideas,” said Gaudet.

“We’ve been impressed with the artists who took a chance and came out with so many ideas,” added Rasmussen. “We’ve also been impressed when we’ve talked to celebrities who said they couldn’t draw a straight line and then have seen their works and how good they are… It’s a great experience and the celebrities and artists are having a great time. Friendships are being formed.”

Those attending the fundraiser will be able to see the works for themselves and bid on art also made by Gaudet’s gold medal winning teammate Ina Forrest, Mayor Rob Sawatzky, MLA Eric Foster, Coun. Juliette Cunningham, realtor Lisa Salt, Rise golf pro Lee Ranger, up-and-coming artist Rachel Hofer, and Brooke McLardy with the Vernon Women’s Transition House.

Other mentor artists include Terri Heinrichs, Jenny Diller, Holly Smith, Neil Erickson, Kim Smith, Eileen Sawracki, Linda Hunt and Buffy Baumbrough.

Sponsored by a number of local businesses, those who purchase a ticket to the event will also enjoy an art exhibition and sale by the participating artists, hors d’oeuvres, a complimentary beverage, and a performance by Calgary country artist Monica Murrell.

The Saturday, July 5 event starts at 5 p.m. with the art auction at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased by contacting Roy Rasmussen at 778-932-0629.