Artful healing

Kingston locals reinvent old furniture as a fundraiser

Art has a healing power.

The Chestmates dragonboat team is holding the Furniture Revival & Art Auction Fundraising Event to prove just that.

The Kingston-based team, which is made entirely of breast cancer survivors, is run under Breast Cancer Action Kingston (BCAK), a charitable organization that works to educate and support men and women affected by the disease.

Sarah Emery, one of the members of the dragonboat team, said the team’s goal to raise awareness about breast cancer.

“The main objective is … to involve the local community as well,” Emery said. “In getting involved, and handing over their artistic pieces, the Kingston art community is creating awareness about an important issue.” The event will feature over 70 local artists from Kingston, who have worked to revitalize donated furniture or contribute an artistic piece for the fundraiser.

“Breast cancer is the focal point of this furniture revival and art auction because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” she said.

“We want to continue to spread hope and encouragement to breast cancer survivors locally and internationally.” The event is a means of raising funds for Kingston’s only breast cancer survivor dragonboat team, Emery said, as they hope to participate in the 2014 International Dragon Boat Festival for Breast Cancer Survivors in Sarasota, Florida.

“Women who are in the dragonboat have gone through extensive chemotherapy and recovery, and when you’re in the midst of it all, you don’t know if you will survive,” Emery said.

“The last thing you think of is taking part in a physically-demanding sport.”

But the whole idea of paddling for Chestmates team members is to release all the negativity and to channel out one’s inner positivity and strength, she said.

“When you’re paddling, you think about being strong, and it’s all about fitness, recovery and stability,” Emery said. “That is a strong message for survivors and it offers them strength, resilience, and renewed hope.”

Just as paddling is a source of vigour, optimism and endurance the Furniture Revival & Art Auction focuses on drawing out similar positive energies and using the power of art to spread hope.

Many of the local artists became involved because a lot of them have known someone who struggled with breast cancer. The personal experience makes their art more powerful, Emery said.

Everything at the fundraiser has been donated by local artists who have transformed ordinary furniture into unique pieces of art.

There will be a mix of vintage, antique and retro pieces, as well as mosaics, stained glass and jewellery.

“We have innovative art pieces by Kingston’s talented artists,” she said. “[One artist] created a hand painted chair, and turned it into an image of the 1000 Islands, calling it ‘Cottage Dreams,’” Emery said.

The auction will be held on Oct. 20 at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. Tickets are $20 and available in advance by calling 613-547-3744.

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