Birdhouse Auction to support Caring Kitchen Project under way at Ukiah gallery

Birdhouse Auction to support Caring Kitchen Project under way at Ukiah gallery

The Corner Art Gallery began its auction to support the Caring Kitchen Project on Friday as part of the First Friday Art Walk, bringing together the work of artists who created birdhouses as part of an art collection to help raise funds to provide meals to people fighting cancer.

The month-long auction runs until the end of April and features birdhouses from local artists and students from Mendocino College’s Sustainable Construction and Energy Technology Program that range from decorative indoor birdhouses to more practical outdoor options.

Tarney Sheldon is the project manager of Caring Kitchen Project, an organization which provides primarily plant-based meals prepared by teen volunteers to individuals and families facing cancer. She helped put the event together after seeing the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens sell decorated birdhouses for a benefit, and she realized that she could do the same in Ukiah to help with the Caring Kitchen Project.

With the help of Susan Gordon, she reached out to local artists and teachers at Mendocino College to get the project started. Artists were given two options for birdhouse styles, with a small version made for chickadees and a larger version for nuthatches and bluebirds. From there, the artists were given free rein to design the birdhouses in the way they wanted.

The bidding values for the birdhouses range from $250 to $450, with a goal of raising as much money as possible for operations and providing food.

Caring Kitchen’s future goal is to try and have its own kitchen to make it easier to provide services. To help with the fundraising, all the participating artists agreed to donate all proceeds and commissions to Caring Kitchens.

John Richards is a local artist who spent time working as a cabinetmaker and carpenter. He spent a month-and-a-half working on the project and designed the roof out of copper and added multiple doors so that many different birds could live inside. The inside is made out of pine, while the outside has a finished coat to prevent weather from damaging it.

“A lot of it was thinking about it. How am I going to do this, and how am I going to do that,” Richards said.

Artist Esther Siegel designed her bird box from the items available in her house and barn such as a piece of candle, a filter, and a birds nest made from bird feathers. Siegel worked on it periodically and tried to use a mixture of nature and plastic that would make people think outside the box. “I want to support the Caring Kitchen, and it seemed like a small but fun project to do,” she said.

Bidders have until 5 p.m. on April 27 to put in bids, and the Caring Kitchen Project will announce a winner on April 30. Visitors can stop by the Corner Art Gallery at 201 S. State St. to make a bid. To learn more about the Caring Kitchen Project, call 707-467-3212.

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