Arty chairs auctioned at fundraiser for Montessori by the Sea

Montessori By The Sea’s third annual art gala was a fundraiser with a difference, with the auction of chairs decorated by students in the style of famous artists. 

The “CHAIR-ity” event raised around $6,000, with the funds going to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the National Trust, ARK and Cayman HospiceCare. 

At the fundraiser, held on May 22, parents, teachers, caregivers and friends gathered at Pedro St. James, along with members of Cayman’s creative community. Each chair was designed, painted and decorated in the style of a noted artist. 

Each piece of art was created by a Montessori By The Sea class led by a parent or guest artist. Other artwork from Dawn McTaggart, Gordon Solomon, Guy Harvey and Janice Brown was also auctioned at the event, which was produced in partnership with the Visual Arts Society. 

“We chose to use old chairs as the theme of our art gala project because they are imbued with history and character,” said parent, artist and gala organizer Chloe Goodfellow. “By using the works of a famous artist as a theme and choosing a chair which fitted the style of artwork, the students and their artistic mentors created one of a kind works of art while energizing the Montessori philosophy of encouraging students to be creative, independent thinkers while embracing collaboration with the community at school and beyond.” 

Ms. Goodfellow and the Casa 2 class were inspired by Mark Rothko. Karoly Szucs of Artisan Metal Works chose metal artist Albert Paley to work with the Casa 1 class to create a sculptural piece in the style of this artist’s work. 

On the heels of her show at the National Gallery, artist Heidi Bassett Blair introduced the Lower Elementary Upstairs class to Keith Herring, while Martinne Mills explored the ideas of Walt Disney with the Lower Elementary Downstairs class. 

Interior designer Mary-Joelle Larocque of Crimson Teal worked with the Upper Elementary class on a Salvador Dali-influenced chair, and the Middle Years class, led by Mary Yates, drew on the work of Peter Max. 

The Toddler class may had the most fun of all, discovering their inner Jackson Pollack with guest artist Nathalie Marineau. 

Most of the chairs for the “CHAIR-ity” auction were donated by artist Jennifer Newton and photographer Lisa Motta, who are owners of The Nook. 

“We are so grateful to all the artists who have contributed to our Art Gala,” said Ms. Goodfellow. “Their appreciation of the importance MBTS places on the arts has inspired extraordinary generosity which will in turn help nurture a new generation of artists in our community.”  

Blue chair
Montessori By The Sea’s Casa 1 class, with the help of local artist Karoly Szucs and inspired by artist Albert Paley, created the ‘Sea Chair.’

Yellow chair

The ‘Sitting on Top of the World’ chair, by the Middle Years class, was inspired by Peter Max and created with the help of local artist Mary Yates.


Inspired by Salvador Dali, the ‘Mediatation Chair’ was created by the Elementary Class, with the help of artist Mary-Joelle Larocque.