Tysons, VA

Painted wooden benches raised thousands of dollars for the Vienna Arts Society during a recent auction.

The benches were auctioned off on Saturday (Nov. 2).

“Vienna Arts Society Auction brought in a capacity crowd,” Lu Cousins, the director of the art group, posted on Facebook. “My sincerest thanks goes out to the community for your support and of course to the artists, their families and the team that worked so hard to make this happen.”

Cousins told Tysons Reporter that the auction raised “well over $50,000.”

The funds will go toward the Vienna Arts Society’s Art Center and outreach activities.

Before the auction, the colorful benches adorned local businesses to mark the Vienna Arts Society’s 50th anniversary. Local businesses sponsored the cost of the Amish-built benches.

During the summer, two of the 42 benches were stolen, leading to extra security measures from the arts group and Vienna Police Department. One of the artists was able to paint another bench, letting Vienna Arts Society auction off 41 benches.

Cousins highlighted one bench in particular — Doré Skidmore’s bench, which features books, will honor Abby — “a beloved pup who enjoyed listening to children reading to her,” Cousins said.

“The public interest story goes out to Lamar Collier who — together with The Friends of Patrick Henry Library — had the winning bid for the bench to be placed at the library in honor of her precious dog Abby and the Read to a Dog, Woof and Paws program,” Cousins told Tysons Reporter.

At the Vienna Town Council meeting on Monday, Mayor Laurie DiRocco lauded the Vienna Arts Society, artists and local businesses that helped with the bench art.

“It was fantastic to see the benches all around town for the six months they were there,” DiRocco said, adding that several benches will stay on display in the town.

The mayor added that she also got a bench with her husband. “We’re going to put it by the Freeman Store,” she said.

Photo courtesy Lu Cousins

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