The Halifax County-South Boston Public Library System held its fourth annual early literacy fundraiser, titled “Rock ‘n Read,” on 6 December 2019. Fourteen local artists donated their time and talents to paint nine donated guitars, four ukuleles, and one hand-built cigar box guitar to put up for auction.
The early literacy fundraising event originated four years ago, when the First Baptist Church of South Boston donated ten mule-eared children’s chairs to Early Literacy Specialist Sue Brooks. “A light just went off in my head when I saw them,” said Brooks. “I knew that we could paint the chairs and raise money for the early literacy program.”
The recent Rock ‘n Read fundraiser was a wonderful evening featuring music provided by Duane Brown of the Brown Brothers, with local musician and luthier Gordon Barnes accompanying him on his homemade cigar box guitar. Southern Plenty of South Boston provided heavy hors d’oeuvres, and Hunting Creek Vineyards of Nathalie donated wine.
“I don’t think we could have had more fun raising money than we did this evening”, said Brooks, “Folks were singing, enjoying good food and wine, all while bidding on a beautiful array of instruments.”
The inaugural fundraiser took place on the first Friday evening in December 2016, kicking off the Christmas season. Silent auction bids for the chairs brought in $1,200 for the program.
Over the next two years, the event featured bookshelves and rocking chairs for local artists to paint with images of their favorite children’s books. Partnerships with community businesses yielded donations of door prizes. The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center’s Innovation Department served as a partner, and Lowe’s provided deep discounts on materials.
The more than $1,700 in funds raised from the event will go towards the development of early literacy services and the children’s areas of the Halifax and South Boston Public Libraries.
The organizers would like to thank everyone who came out for the event, and the fabulous people whose contributions of time and talent made it all possible.
We look forward to seeing you all again next year!
The Velveteen Rabbit by Jenna Austin
Amazing Grace by Don Bagwell
Come Sail Away by Celeste Carrington
Somewhere Out There bookshelf guitar by Brittney Clay
Some Pig by Denise Hudson
Butterfly Mandala Ukulele by Rebecca Mulwee
Birdhouse Guitar by Sue Brooks
Phoenix Rising Ukulele by Ashley Crews
Moana Ukulele by Christina Knapp
Out of This World by Ron Miller
Write On! By Steve Schopen
James and the Giant Peach by Rachel Smith.
Guitars by Tommy Winn. Tommy cut slabs from an old cedar stump and shaped them with a chain saw. Tommy is well known for his beautiful carvings in South Hill, Va.