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Campers create 21-foot 'Chairway To Heaven' in Elora

'Chairway to Heaven' aims to serve as a reminder that creativity knows no boundaries
Screenshot 2019-08-13 at 125649 PM
'Chairway to Heaven' placed outside Elora Centre of the Arts. Supplied Photo.

Creativity knows no bounds and that’s what campers at the Elora Centre for the Arts solidified with a 21-foot sculpture permanently fixed in their garden.

Named Chairway to Heaven, the sculpture consists of painted chairs threaded to a 19-foot metal pole.

Arts educator at the Elora Centre of the Arts, Judy Anderson says the project beautifully exemplifies how a community can come together on a collaborative project. 

She says it all started with her desire to work on a week-long outdoor project with the campers who are between the age of six and 12. 

“I had an old chair and I thought, ‘Maybe I can do something with this chair',” says Anderson. 

With the help of a community member who works at a thrift store, Anderson’s class had access to more free chairs and so the class decided to use these chairs, paint them, and stack them on top of each other. 

“So it really just started from that – what's available. It’s really a great way to re-use unwanted items, re-use resources, upcycle, all that kind of thing,” says Anderson.

Anderson’s class then brainstormed methods to allow this sculpture to stand and came up with the idea of purchasing a metal pipe, drilling a hole in the feet of each chair and threading them to the pole. 

But then they thought, "How do we raise this gigantic sculpture?"

“What was so amazing with working through this problem with the kids is that one of the young campers put up his hand and said my dad owns Centre Wellington Hydro,” says Anderson. 

Upon hearing that, Anderson contacted the camper’s father and he was delighted to help. 

“So 9 a.m. in the morning on Friday, he pulled into the yard with his big bucket truck and the son – who's in my camp – he got in with his dad and they went up to the top of the pipe and they started threading the chairs on and that was it. We pulled it off,” says Judy. 

Anderson says the entire project was not only a collaborative art project amongst the kids, but also an intellectual one because they had to conceptualize ways to engineer the structure by the end of the camp week. 

Anderson says the sculpture aims to be an aspirational metaphor for the children where they are reminded that they can reach for the stars.

“The sculpture is now a permanent feature in the front garden at the Elora Centre for the Arts, and will serve as a reminder that creativity has no boundaries, and we should all reach for our dreams,” says director of the Elora Centre of Arts, Lianne Carter.