Forty-five local artists are partnering with the McIntosh Memorial Library of Viroqua for a fundraising event titled, “Have a Heart to Save a Heart.” The Friends of the Library will be hosting the event which is an art silent auction Nov. 29-Dec. 3 at the library. The goal is to raise enough money to purchase a defibrillator for the library.

Library Director Trina Erickson began working on the project in the spring and approached the Friends of the Library Board about getting involved in raising money to purchase a unit. Luella Oliver, president of the Friends organization, said her board made the decision to get involved because having a defibrillator in a public building is very important. “No matter who you are it (the machine) tells you exactly what to do…it is very good.”

Erickson said once the unit is purchased and installed all library staff will be fully trained on how to operate it. “Having a defibrillator in the library is very important so we can respond quickly if a health emergency occurs.”

Jean Driscoll is the chairperson of the event. When asked why she decided to take on the project she said, “Why not? I feel the library needs this. I love art and I know several artists in town.”

According to Driscoll, the auction will feature a variety of items including, “original oil paintings, original pastels, acrylics, pottery, and sculptures. The work has been donated by professional artists and Sunday artists.” Pieces on the auction range in value from $5 to more than $350. Driscoll said when viewing the pieces think about a forever gift when placing a bid. “A forever gift is something you hope the recipient will keep forever. It doesn’t need batteries, it doesn’t go out of style…they can keep it and enjoy it forever. A heart defibrillator can save your life while a piece of art can uplift your life.”

Anne Butera is a local artist who donated a painting to the fundraiser. Butera said she decided to support the event because “I thought it was an important thing to help the library and to help the community…myself and the other artists are giving a gift from the heart.”

The art is currently on display inside the Friends of the Library Bookstore and across from the store in the library display case. Some of the artists involved include Paul Berquist, Kathie Wheeler, Sue Berg, John Schneider, Toril Fisher, Chris Cox, Donald Hodges, Richard Bock, Amy Arnold and Kelsey Sauber-Olds and many more. One of the featured pieces is an original painting by Scott West from the band Cloud Cult. The piece was created during a live performance at the Pump House in La Crosse. Monetary gifts are also being accepted during the month of November in the Friends Bookstore, with all donations being put toward the purchase of the defibrillator.

Driscoll said she encourages everyone to stop by and preview the pieces before the auction begins at the end of November. “The artists are also donating so they are giving a heartfelt gift to the whole community because they could be selling their artwork anyplace.

For more information, contact McIntosh Memorial Library at 637-7151.

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