Local artists and crafters are being put the test, all with the goal to help build homes for those in need. The upcoming ReStorAtion Art Auction sponsored by Habitat for Humanity is in its third year, and will be held at Icon Events Hall + Lounge in downtown Sioux Falls.
“WE WANT ANYBODY TO BE ABLE TO COME TO INVEST THEIR MONEY IN THE ART, IN THE EXPERIENCE OF IT, AND THE ARTISTS, TOO.” —NIKI SCHILLERSTROM
The free event begins at 7 p.m. on April 22 (Earth Day), with a no-charge dessert bar and an available cash bar. There will also be raffle prizes. Local band Bangtail will perform, while attendees peruse the artwork created by artists, DIYers, and crafters near and far.
Niki Schillerstrom is the community relations director for Sioux Falls Habitat for Humanity. Schillerstrom came up with the idea for the art auction using recycled items several years ago, and was finally able to see it come to fruition when the event was first held in 2014.
“It’s my baby,” said Schillerstrom. “I’m fully invested in its success and challenges.”
Participants were able to pick a recycled item up to a $100 value from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. The recycled items could be lamps, doors, window screens, and so on.
This year, there will be 56 artists and 73 pieces presented. Most items will be on a silent auction, while four to five pieces will be sold during a live auction. Collected money will go towards building houses for those in the community. Since the art auction started, $17,800 has been raised.
Schillerstrom says these homes help families have better connections, which leads to healthier and happier lives and families.
“Habitat just makes sense to me,” said Schillerstrom. “To have a home that is secure and affordable and safe; once you can check that off, it just opens the world that you can invest in other things, be open to other things, and care about other things, because you’re just less worried.”
For Tom Chap, giving back to the community is second nature. The retired Vietnam veteran has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity since 1998, working on a team called the Master Builders. The team completes about 10-12 homes per year in Sioux Falls.
“We build every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the year on Habitat houses,” said Chap. “It’s important for me to provide housing and homes. It’s such a great feeling.”
Chap has also crossed the world to build homes. He has traveled to Vietnam with other veterans, sometimes to areas where combat took place. He says it has helped himself and other veterans cope with their post-traumatic stress disorder from the Vietnam War, because they’re giving something back to the country that is now at peace.
Chap will be turning in handmade wood tables for the art auction, which he has been doing since it began. Some of the wood is coming from trees that were cut down by Habitat a few years ago, and some of it is recycled out of the ReStore.
Heidi Namken has created art her whole life. Her artwork is a way for her to express her positivity and happiness, which is shown through the bright colors she uses. Her home is covered in paintings (many her own and some from local artists). She says she has teetered between crafting and art, but has become more focused on art, as of late.
“My mother always made sure there were scissors, glue, construction paper,” said Namken. “Always creating, at some capacity.”
She found the art auction as a way to be creative, while also helping those in need of a home. She used a variety of colors and patterns on the stairwell posts she will be turning in for the auction.
“It’s always fun to go and see the creativity people have,” said Namken. “It’s a great group of people.”
Schillerstrom says some people find the art auction to be an excuse to try something they’ve always wanted to try and experiment with their art.
She explained, “They can do it in our name, it’s no charge, and being a fundraiser, they raise money for Habitat.”
For more information, visit siouxfallshabitat.org.
ReStoration Art Auction
Icon Event Hall + Lounge
402 N. Main Ave.