Sean Janssen, The Union Democrat

The top 10 most fashionable places to sit down in Calaveras County were selected Thursday in San Andreas by judges in the "Chairs for Charity" fundraiser.

A trio of guest judges selected the cream of the crop from among 34 artistic chair masterpieces displayed at the Calaveras County Arts Council Gallery. The winners will be placed into a live auction at a fundraiser event Saturday, Jan. 26, at the San Andreas Town Hall.

Proceeds go to Soroptimists International of Calaveras County and the county Arts Council with 40 percent to the artist or a charity of their choice.

"Before you have fun, you have to work hard," Arts Council Executive Director Mary Jane Genochio playfully admonished judges Gay Callan, owner of Chatom Vineyards in Vallecito, Merita Callaway, the county supervisor representing Murphys and points east, and Sandra Peterson, owner of the Main Street Gallery in Murphys.

The trio did a little bit of both in judging based on the top criterion: how much it can fetch in the auction.

First-time judge Callan found herself impressed by the submissions.

"What I appreciate is the artistic creativity that people are bringing to the variety of chairs and stools and the theme," she said. "There are some great artists in our community, and this is a celebration of what they bring forward."

Indeed, takes on the chairs ranged from matchstick legs to candy cane stripes, Western and American Indian styles and painted nature scenes, even a potential patio seat with faux bird droppings in case the real thing fails to materialize. Materials varied from old oak wine barrels to repurposed pallets to fine suede.

The consensus top 10 were (in no particular order): "ArCreations Chair" by Kim Vinciguerra, of Sutter Creek, benefiting The Arc of Amador and Calaveras; "Sittin' and Sippin'" by JohnRash, of Angels Camp (Soroptimists); "Time Out" by Carol Jones of Angels Camp (Soroptimists); "Tou Louse Meets Van Gogh" by Charlotte Mahood Mulcaster, of Angels Camp (Soroptimists); "Ghost Dance" by Dale Huey, of Angels Camp (Soroptimists); "Bunny Chair" by Cate Culver, of Mountain Ranch (artist); "Calaveras County Scenes" by Lori Kelly, of San Andreas (artist); "Teachers Rule" by Pete Kelly, of San Andreas (artist); "Salvaged Sparker" by Linda Lawrence, of Murphys (artist); and "Bird Chair" by Christine Schultz, of Arnold (artist).

The event has raised a total of $23,000 in its previous three years. It returns after a hiatus last January.

The "Chairs for Charity" event will run from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Town Hall, 24 Church Hill Road, San Andreas.

Tickets cost $25 and include dinner catered by The Pickle Patch. Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling 754-1774 or visiting

Mindi Bach will be the auctioneer. A two-week stay in a vacation home in Las Cruces, N. M. will be featured in the live auction.

"Xtreme Musical Chairs" is scheduled as well as a no-host bar.