Art benefits music, as generous artists support the Santa Cruz County SymphonyOriginally published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, August 10, 2012
|Quinlyn Baine, then 11,
sits astride “Buffalocorp” by |
Nick Hermes in 2004, part of the Spirit of the Buffalo
OK Centennial Street art project in Oklahoma City.
“Spirit of the Buffalo” was an OK centennial project, which engaged a series of artists to decorate large plastic models of buffalo as sidewalk art. It reminded the four of us of a similar project closer to home, when San Jose saw what artists could do with 100 fiberglass sharks in 2001. Apparently the Baines have little respect for the sanctity of public art, because I have photographs of my girls climbing on both a suit-and-tie buffalo in Oklahoma City and a metallic robo shark in downtown San Jose.
Toni Sutherland was recruited to design a chair by her
mother—a League member—who also
provided the yard-sale school chair.
Sutherland is using tulle again to create a chair for the Symphony League’s “A Rare Chair Affair” –a fundraising auction for the Santa Cruz County Symphony. Like her wetsuit gown, her chair was inspired by her self-professed love of all things sea-related, tulle, and hot glue guns. Sutherland painted a vintage elementary school chair with metallic paint and skirted it with netting studded with sewn-in sequins, shells, beads and toy turtles. She also created a handmade companion storybook, “My Little Turtle,” written in four different languages (Spanish, French, Hawaiian and English). “I really like making little books,” she says. “I started making books when I taught as an emergency [bilingual] teacher for Pajaro,” she says. Because five classes all shared one set of books, she says, her students started making their own little textbooks.
Sutherland, a fourth generation local, comes from a long line of swimmers, surfers and ocean enthusiasts. Although she works as an investment advisor and says she’s “not a real artist,” Sutherland has been painting and designing clothing and swimwear for years. “This is my sanity,” she says, pointing to her chair project, which she put together mostly at night, after work. “I wanted to create a special place for a kid. I want it to be very friendly and usable.”
|One of the more whimsical chairs
created for this year’s|
“A Rare Chair Affair” features live succulents and mosaic
work by Mary Ann Hobbs.
An enthusiastic Symphony supporter who originally got involved with the League through her church, Hobbs does not characterize herself as a classical music expert. “I know zip-a-dee-doo-dah about classical music,” says Hobbs, “so I go to the pre-concert talks by Larry [Granger] to learn more.”
The League’s many fundraising activities have been extremely effective, raising $63,000 for the symphony over the last year alone through its “A Rare Chair Affair,” home tour, golf tournament, Emerald Ball, and many other events. Hobbs says, “Santa Cruz is so fortunate. A town this size never has a complete symphony orchestra. A lot have folded.”
The Symphony League raises money not only to support the Symphony, but also to create programs for students and their families to experience and better understand classical music. One beneficiary of their school program was Bailey Ellis, who attended a concert at the Mello Center last year with her 5th grade Valencia Elementary School class. “They described all the instruments and played music and it was fun,” says Bailey, an accomplished visual artist who has studied at the Kimberly Hardin Art Studio in Aptos. A few months later, her grandmother suggested creating a chair for the Symphony’s auction. “My grandmother bought all the art supplies and I did it at her house,” says Bailey. The elegant chair she painted, “Dancing Notes,” is a black chair with large white notes—very appropriate for the Symphony League gala.
I recently came across the photos of our daughters taken in Oklahoma City and San Jose, as my husband and I worked on a going-away gift for our youngest. The daughter on the buffalo, now 19, galloped away to Maryland earlier this year. And tomorrow, the daughter on the shark, 17, will swim away to South Korea. What have I forgotten to tell her, give her, do for her? I’m anticipating sadness, loss, and anxiousness. But of course I also need to trust that they both have the resources to be okay on their own. And have faith that they will fashion the raw materials of their lives into something unique and wonderful.