Grosse Pointe Art Center invites its supporters to have a seat

GPAC brings back Chair Affair auction fundraiser

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 16, 2013

GROSSE POINTE CITY — Are you sitting down for this? After an absence of about two years, the Grosse Pointe Art Center is reviving its Chair Affair Benefit Auction this year.

From 7-10 p.m. Oct. 26 at the GPAC, artists and art supporters will have a chance to take part in a silent auction to purchase hand-painted and decorated chairs — and chair-themed art — by local artists, as well as gift baskets featuring theater and sports tickets, private wine tastings, spa packages and a painting by Peruvian artist Juan Carlos Zeballos Moscairo. Hors d’oeuvres, champagne and other beverages will be served. The chef from Crescent Sail Club is slated again to do the catering.

The Chair Affair was first held circa 2008 and was revived this year “after many members enthusiastically recalled the fun, positive responses from patrons and overall success of the past,” Chair Affairs, GPAC Board Chair Wendy Schmidt said in an email interview.

GPAC Director Amy DeBrunner said this event is vital to maintaining operations at the nonprofit.

“We only do the one fundraiser (each year), and with all of the moves … it’s critical this year,” she said.

The GPAC has moved four times in the last decade, with its last three moves taking place within the Village. Last year’s local celebrity-themed fundraiser — which coincided with the Grosse Pointe Art Association’s 75th anniversary — raised almost $15,000, DeBrunner said.

Dr. Kim Borrego, who chaired last year’s fundraiser, is back to chair the Chair Affair, joined by her husband, Rick. In an email interview, she said the Art Center has become a special place for her.

“Art is a very important part of our family,” she said. “Several years ago, I was looking for a unique gift for Rick, and I wandered into the Art Center. From that moment on, we have been supporters of the center and their amazing works of art. Our daughter, Madison, began taking art classes at the center shortly after that, supporting more of our involvement in the center. Amy (DeBrunner) asked me to chair the special anniversary event last year, and I was honored. It was such an extraordinary event with such dedicated artists and staff, so when she asked Rick and I to co-chair this year, we were very excited and pleased to be part of this event.”

Borrego said attendees can expect good food, good music, good company and great art.

“The artists have outdone themselves with such beautiful and creative pieces to support this event,” she said. “There will be something for everyone.”

From exhibits that spotlight talented local artists to classes that enable children and adults to hone their skills, the GPAC serves a vital purpose in the community, according to its supporters.

“The GPAC is a special organization that culturally and socially enhances our community through the visual arts,” Schmidt said. “It provides vital artistic engagement not only for the people of Grosse Pointe, but for people from neighboring communities, as well, through regular exhibitions, collaborations, art education and community outreach programs. It is a true asset for Grosse Pointe artists and art appreciators of all ages.”

Borrego expressed a similar sentiment.

“The GPAC continually gives back to the community with their different events, various artists and their work, as well as their classes,” Borrego said. “They have shown their strength and dedication through their moves around the Village. Their current location may be smaller, yet it is more personal and directly dedicated to this community.”

Schmidt said the annual fundraiser typically attracts about 100 guests. The GPAC’s funding comes from donations, membership dues, a portion of the sale of artwork and the occasional grant, and as Borrego noted, with each move, the GPAC and its dedicated volunteers have had to renovate and redecorate each new site.

“This fundraiser will allow the artists and staff to continue to show their work to the community, giving the community a place to find peacefulness and a creative outlet,” Borrego said. “The Art Center encourages art and creativity in its students, which is crucial to their futures. This fundraiser will support the longevity of the center while maintaining its mark in the history of Grosse Pointe.”

Tickets are $40 per person, and attendees are asked to make advance reservations. The GPAC is located at 17118 Kercheval in the Village. For tickets or more information, visit, call (313) 881-3454 or email