Hand-painted Adirondack chairs build community spirit in Clinton, NY

– Posted in: Hardscaping and Projects, Wishlist

Artist: Tim Pryputniewicz Sponsor: Clinton Real Estate Location: Owens-Pavlot Funeral Service Final Bid: $235.00

Artist: Tim Pryputniewicz Final Bid: $235.00

If you’re looking for a way to jazz up your garden this summer, you would do well to follow the example of the good people of Clinton, NY. For the past two years, the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Kirkland Art Center (KAC), have been running an event they call Art Rocks. With the help of Pleasant View Lawn Furniture, a local Mennonite woodworker, they came up with a Adirondack rocking chair design that “is particular to us,” according to Annette Clarke, executive director of the KAC. Local artists paint the chairs, which are displayed in various public locations around town. At the end of the summer, the chairs are auctioned off.

Artist: John Loy Final Bid: $450.00

Artist: John Loy Final Bid: $450.00

In 2007, the first year of Art Rocks, artists decorated twenty-eight chairs. Sponsors paid for materials and the artists were given a share of the proceeds from the silent auction. Forty-four chairs were painted in 2008. With increased sponsorship, the Art Rocks committee was able to obtain “chair covers for rainy days, bags to keep the covers in (for sunny days) and a system for locking the chairs down,” relates Ms. Clarke. (You can tell these chairs have become local treasures, can’t you?) They also persuaded a local auto body shop to prime the chairs.

Artist: Peter Rashford Final Bid: $180.00

Artist: Peter Rashford Final Bid: $180.00

The designs, as you can see, are quite varied. Many have a garden or outdoor theme, but others are take-offs of famous works of art. Still others are completely abstract. You can view all of them in galleries at the Village of Clinton website:

A Clinton Rocker of Your Very Own

Artist: Sue Monaghan Final Bid: $310.00

Artist: Sue Monaghan Final Bid: $310.00

If these chairs have gotten your artistic juices flowing, you might want to paint one for your own backyard. The Clinton rocker, with its higher than typical back, is available only through the Clinton website. Unfinished chairs are $150, not including shipping. If you are interested in painting a chair for Art Rocks 2009, get in touch with the Chamber of Commerce soon. Ms. Clarke will be choosing the 44 for artists in the next few weeks, as the chairs will be ready in March.

Art Rocks 2009 Event Schedule

  • Chairs will start to go out to artists around mid to late March
  • Opening reception for artists and sponsors is June 24
  • Chairs out to the community – June 25
  • Final Auction: September 2 (see below if you wish to bid)

Artist: Doug Whitfield Final Bid: $470.00

Artist: Doug Whitfield Final Bid: $470.00

I first learned about these chairs because my local bank featured them in their calendar for 2008. I’ve been finding it difficult to throw the calendar out because the chairs are so attractive. I keep imagining certain ones in my own garden. I’m thinking about bidding on one …

How to Bid on an Art Rocks Chair

Opening Bid is $150 and bids may be made in increments of $10. You may place a bid 3 ways:

  • On location: go into the store or business where the rocker is displayed and ask for a bid form
  • Email: artrocks.clinton.ny at gmail dot com (be sure to include your name, the name of the artist, bid amount and your phone number)
  • Phone: Phone Ann Debraggio at (315-853-4928) or Carol Renauld (315-859-1790)

(If bidding via email or phone, it is considered a reserve bid and someone will be bidding on your behalf.)

As it says on the back of the bank calendar: “May the sun shine warm upon your face, and art be always at your back.”

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

~Albert Camus in Albert Camus quotations

Comments on this entry are closed.

Adria Arch April 14, 2013, 3:03 pm

Arlington Public Art, in MA, do “Chairful Where You Sit” on our local bikepath. Artists are encouraged to find an old chair destined for the trash but otherwise in good condition, and re-imagine it in paint. The chairs are exhibited for a week, and then purchased or auctioned to raise money for APA. I came across this post while researching ideas for Chairful 2013.

Yusuf Koçak December 2, 2010, 8:16 am

Hello, ‘Wooden chairs’ searching for the subject on the Internet, I came across you. I liked the idea of making artistic additions to the chairs used in everyday life. The readers who like pictures, I thought we may want to look at models of chairs produced. Can you visit our web site for chairs produced in Turkey?
Note: This comment has been prepared with the Google translation.

Tuinmeubels March 29, 2009, 7:27 am

I loved the monalisa one..sitting on her head..

terry February 9, 2009, 5:57 pm

We too are doing Adirondack chairs for public art this year. Did the auto body shops prime them or put a finish coat on them?

Tina January 29, 2009, 12:09 pm

What a treat to see something in my little neck of the woods in the spotlight.
Yes, they’re quite something to see around town. If I had a cam, I would have grabbed some pics for you this coming summer.
Some of these artists’ renderings are really spectacular and a bit unexpected!
I sure wish the site would have more about the Farmers Market on the Green and the Root Glen Gardens – they’re spectacular in the summer.

Lynn January 28, 2009, 7:48 pm

Hey Kathy–great post! Turns out my painter friend, Lucie Wellner, painted one of the chairs last year. Hers looks like tree shadows on the rocker.

Gail January 28, 2009, 5:31 pm

They are delightful and were we in the area we might be tempted…gail

commonweeder January 28, 2009, 1:00 pm

I love the chairs – and they are so much more useful than the painted cows and pigs I’ve seen other cities sponsor.

Yael Ben-Ari January 27, 2009, 11:57 pm

Wow!! Those chairs are gorgeous! I would love to have something like that. One can always dream.

(Out here in the Pacific Northwest, Zone 7-8. Currently raining after a light layer of snow this morning)

Sue January 27, 2009, 9:47 pm

I love those chairs, Kathy. Our city had people build bicycle sculptures, and put them around before auctioning them. Then, they did stars. They are currently having people paint rain barrels. I may try to bid on one of those when they become available. I’ve been wanting one, anyway.

The days are getting longer! Yea!

Cindy, MCOK January 27, 2009, 9:11 pm

I have an old wooden chair I bought for $5 at a garage sale years ago with the idea that I’d paint it and set it out in the garden. It’s been sitting in the garage taking up space ever since. This post reminded me of my original plan for it … I think I’ll enlist the help of some artistic friends!

Kathy Purdy January 27, 2009, 6:15 pm

Karrita, thank you for stopping by. MMD, they are inspiring, aren’t they? Hi, Nancy–yes, lots of fun! I’m sure they encourage visitors to keep looking for the next one.

Nancy Bond January 27, 2009, 6:11 pm

How much fun are those?! Fantastic!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter January 27, 2009, 5:57 pm

Those chairs are great! Now I see what I should have done when I painted kid-sized Adirondack chairs a couple of years ago.

My Mother's Garden January 27, 2009, 5:45 pm

These chairs are gorgeous!It must be fun to see them spread throughout the community in different places. What a great home project too!

Nice blog!