Fire inspires artists' work for Parliament fundraiser
A month ago, when artist Meisa Chase began working on a piece to be auctioned off at The Parliament's Decked Out fundraiser, she had no idea how difficult it would be to finish it.
Chase lost her art studio, supplies and many of her belongings to a two-alarm fire in her Columbia apartment building Sept. 4.
Four of the five units in the building, including one belonging to fellow artist Autumn Barnett, had extensive fire, water and smoke damage, Chase said, and all of the tenants were displaced.
While many of their belongings were destroyed, Chase and Barnett were able to salvage their skateboard decks that they auctioned off at The Parliament's Decked Out fundraiser at The Bond in York on Saturday night.
The third-annual event is a collaborative art exhibit that showcases the work of artists from six central Pennsylvania art galleries.
In previous years, Decked Out was a month-long art installation at The Parliament that featured between 50 and 60 hand-painted, collaged and manipulated skate decks.
But this year, organizers expanded the event to include more than 130 skate decks from artists affiliated with The Parliament and Hive Artspace in York, The Millworks in Harrisburg, Sunshine Art + Design and Discerning Eye Center for the Arts in Lancaster, and The Alchemy of Art in Baltimore.
The idea was to bring local art communities together, said Stacy McClain, Parliament programs director.
"We thought it would be fun to bring a gallery from each city to one big collaborative event to work together," she said.
This year's expanded event included live music from Lancaster, Harrisburg and Philadelphia-based bands, live screen printing, henna tattoos, food trucks, cocktails and a car smash.
Skate decks ranged from 3-D collaged designs and paintings to a design that incorporated a live fish.
After the September fire, Chase and Barnett said they both altered their designs to reflect what they've been through in the last month.
Barnett created a collage of items that she was able to salvage from the blaze, while Chase added fire to her original design of a yeti and rabbits in the forest.
"I added the fire because it's really impacted my life," Chase said. "It really felt good to make the board because there was so much emotion with nowhere to go."
The proceeds from the auction will go to the participating galleries and Reid Menzer Memorial Skate Park, a place that organizer Alexandra Dwyer said local artists feel a connection to.