Local Artists Create Handmade Originals for Chair-ish Wentzville

Throne by Sean Manning

Chair-ish Wentzville, a citywide art event sponsored by the Crossroads Arts Council, will come to an end this weekend with a chair raffle and auction at the Wentzville Days Fair & Music Festival.

Chairs–varying in style from the everyday and ordinary to the unusual and unique–were repurposed, recreated, and refurbished by local artists and area students. The “art chairs” were then placed in businesses all over Wentzville as part of a scavenger hunt. At this weekend’s festival, all the chairs will be on display before being raffled and auctioned to raise money for the Arts Council and The Child Center.

Among the chairs are several which are completely original works of art, created from scratch by local artists.

Sean Manning, a C.A.C. member and Wentzville School District middle school art teacher and football coach, is also a woodcrafter. “I started in seventh grade, with my dad, and continued taking shop classes in high school. I’ve always had a passion for it,” Manning told 70 West Sentinel.

Manning crafts tables and chairs, concentrating on Renaissance and medieval vernacular furniture. His pieces are all handmade with hand tools–no power tools, no screws or nails. “If it’s going to have my name on it, it’s going to be my best quality work,” he said. He also carves spoons, bowls, and pipes.

He offered one of his original pieces for display, to help attract interest in the event.

Throne by Sean Manning

“He knew exactly which one he wanted to offer,” Arts Council Diane Ransom said. “He called it ‘The Throne.’ It weighs over two hundred pounds and stands six feet tall.” During the scavenger hunt, the throne is on display at Poage Chevrolet.

Although the throne won’t be auctioned off, another Manning creation will be part of the event–a circa 1915 chair that he repaired, updated with a cushion seat, and decorated with emojis.

“I hope that [Chair-ish Wentzville] becomes something that Wentzville looks forward to every year. It’s exciting to be in on the beginning of it,” Manning said.

Devil Dog Chair by Bruce Howard

Bruce Howard, another Arts Council member and a dentist by vocation, donated several completely handmade art chairs. Howard’s King Kong chair and a 10-foot shark chair are on display at B & B Theatres. Howard also donated the Devil Dog chair that he was working on during the C.A.C.’s Spanning the Generations Art Show in March, and which is displayed at The Tattooed Dog restaurant during the scavenger hunt portion of the event.

Howard also does glassblowing and metal sculpture. His sculpture “The Secret Life of a Flower” is on display outside the Winghaven branch library, and the cake sculpture he created for St. Louis’ 250th birthday celebration in 2014 is still on display at the Scott Joplin House.

“It’s great to be part of this event that brings art into people’s daily lives,” Howard said.

Chairs continued to be donated throughout the month of May, and the total number donated now stands at 60. All the chairs will be gathered from the participating businesses and placed on display Friday, May 20.

The Chair-ish Wentzville event will start at noon on Saturday, May 21 Twelve chairs will be in the auction at 5 p.m. and the rest will be available during the raffles, which are being held at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Raffle tickets will sell for $1 each, six for $5, and $20 for an arm’s length.