Fifty local artists were each given a challenge – to transform a wooden bowling pin into a work of art all in the name of charity. With two weeks and few guidelines, the artists were free to express their creativity using a regulation size bowling pin as their canvas.
The finished pin-art was then displayed in more than 10 prominent storefronts in Seattle and on the Eastside leading up to the “Pinned To PONCHO” event. The silent auction took place on June 26 at the retro-chic Lucky Strike Lanes in Bellevue.
The event was a joint effort between Lucky Strike Lanes and PONCHO, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising support for the community arts. The one-of-a-kind bowling pins were auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Lucky Strike Lanes founder Steven Foster said, the goal of the event was to craft an environment that would be artistic and provocative in promoting local talent.
“Local artists tend to have limited exposure because fewer people go to galleries these days,” said Foster, a long-time advocate of the arts. “More of a percentage of the population will go a public event. We thought this would be a cool fundraiser.”
The event raised $5,110 for PONCHO’s art organizations, education and outreach programs across Washington state. The 50 pins, ranging from elegant to spunky, were displayed throughout the Lucky Strike venue accompanied by a bid sheet with a beginning bid price of $50 and a buy-it-now price of $600. Several artists were in attendance to give more insight to their artwork.
“It’s an interesting alternative venue that will hopefully get people excited about the arts,” said Ed Bennett, who worked alongside Johnathon Ward to create his pin, titled “Great Escape.” The detailed piece depicted a hand-carved blue heron on one side and a classic bowling pin on the other.
“I must have spent 50 to 60 hours carving and painting, but it was for a good cause,” he explained. “PONCHO does wonderful work for the art community and the opportunity to give back spoke to me.”
In addition to the silent auction, “Dare to Spare” raffle tickets were available for purchase with the proceeds benefiting PONCHO. Towards the end of the evening a ticket was drawn and the winner was given their choice of pin, stealing it out from under the high bidder of that pin.
Raffle ticket winner Alice Kim took her time selecting a pin and then she did something remarkable. She chose the pin with the highest bid and relinquished her selection, letting the high bidder take the pin home and the bid money to benefit PONCHO. The pin, created by artist Brian White, went for the buy-it-now price of $600.
“It just made more sense to let the bidder take the pin because this way, instead of losing the money from that pin, the money will go back to PONCHO and the arts,” explained Kim, an avid fan of Pacific Northwest Ballet, one of the many programs that benefits from PONCHO.
To help give the local artists who participated in the event added exposure, Foster plans to display images of the uniquely crafted pins on the plasma screen televisions in the Lucky Strike Lanes throughout the country.
Launching the event in Bellevue made sense to Foster and Bellevue General Manager Tom Romano, calling the venue one of the most successful in the country.
The six-month-old bowling lounge is the first of its kind to boast a Luxe VIP Lounge and, according to Foster, is the next generation of Lucky Strike. Located on the second floor of Lincoln Square, the bowling lounge soon will expand, adding an additional 15,000 square feet.
The increased space will house six new bowling lanes, another Luxe VIP suite and a high-end arcade, much like a mature GameWorks for adults, said Romano. The expansion is on schedule to be completed by the end of the year. Foster plans to mirror the “Pinned To PONCHO” event in his venues nationwide.
“The more we can propagate and channel the arts the better,” Foster said. “I think sometimes with life, art gets lost and it’s critical we bring art to the forefront. It livens the spirit.”
For more information on PONCHO visit www.poncho.org. Bellevue Lucky Strike Lanes is located in Bellevue’s Lincoln Square, 700 Bellevue Way Northeast. For more information visit www.bowlluckystrike.com.
Lindsay Larin can be reached at email@example.com or at 425-453-4602.