Habitat for Humanity auctions doors painted by local artists

Habitat for Humanity Victoria has pooled the talents of more than 100 local artists for an online auction of their original creations — all of them made using doors.

Artists were given vouchers for a door selling for $100 or less at one of Habitat’s ReStores, and then got to work turning it into a piece of art.

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“When we launched this event earlier in the spring, we could not have anticipated the overwhelming level of support we received from artists here in Victoria,” said Kelly King, Habitat for Humanity Victoria’s director of communication and giving.

“I am so grateful for all of their time, skill and talent.”

The group hopes to raise $50,000 through the online auction, which runs from May 28 to June 13, to help fund its work building affordable homes for those in need.

Doors were used because they represent transitions in people’s lives, “opening up new possibilities and opportunities along the way,” the organization said. “For local families in need of an affordable home where they live and work, Habitat can be the key to a new beginning.”

Among the participating artists is Karen Lancey of Metal Mermaid Welding, who has been working with recycled materials for 17 years.

“I really like the challenge of using something people don’t have a use for anymore and turning it into something that’s really beautiful, challenging, surprising or funny,” Lancey said.

She said the auction supports a “fabulous” cause. “As a single mom for a lot of years, today’s [housing] market is terrifying to me, when the most important thing to your family is a roof over your head.”

Lancey said she goes to Habitat for Humanity ReStores — retail outlets for new and used building materials — to look for material for her art “and now I can give back with my time and talents.”

Another artist who took on the door challenge is Laura Rechwan, who uses hands as a symbol in her work. “The image of a hand — it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from — delivers strength and stability and it’s something that we can pass on to each other.”

Yolanda Meijer, Habitat for Humanity Victoria’s chief executive, said artists have been handing in their works over the past few weeks, and some pieces “are just out of this world.” “I know a lot of people are going to be looking for more wall space once they see the collection.”

Habitat for Humanity Victoria completed its first home in 1999 and has now built 34, including 10 recently completed homes in North Saanich. Under its model, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labour as Habitat for Humanity volunteers.

To preview the art or access the auction, go to ­habitatvictoria.com/open-a-door.

jbell@timescolonist.com

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