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Fleet Feet hosts Art and Sole Charity event: turns old running soles into art work to benefit the Rape Crisis Center

Updated on August 28, 2015

Savannah's WSAV TV personality Tina Tyus Shaw shows she has talent off-screen as well

The road to hope.
The road to hope. | Source

Victoria ten Broeck auctions off soles at Fleet Feet event

Art and Sole: A fun event to raise awareness of a serious subject: RAPE

What do you do with your old pair of running shoes that have seen better days? Why not donate them to be recycled as artwork to raise money for the Rape Crisis Center in Savannah? That is exactly what took place this August as 25 running shoe soles were rescued, painted white and mounted on 1 by 6 boards to be purchased for $10 apiece, painted and returned to the Fleet Feet store where they got their start to be sold at auction to benefit the local Rape Crisis Center.

Artists ranged from an autistic youth who created a spin wheel masterpiece to young children who each dipped a finger into paint and placed a dot on a shoe sole to create an exceptionally unique piece of artwork. Many adults also dipped their paint brushes into the talent pool and did their best to create a work of art they hope got at least one bid and found a new home where it would be appreciated.

There were lots of shoes covered in glitter and glamorous images, but most were of local themes like palm tress, sailboats, fish and birds. A few bidding wars took place on unique shoes and a few very talented artists made those with less talent a bit wistful that what they envisioned in their heads did not turn out quite as well when painted on a knobby unyielding sole that sucked paint into grooves and made keeping straight lines a near impossibility.

Still, no matter what the level of talent or difficulty, everyone had fun raising money for a good cause and getting together with friends on a full-moon Thursday with free food and alcohol and a festive atmosphere despite the serious subject.

There were a lot of laughs and some very generous donors who paid a small fortune to own a piece of art by local artists who put their souls into their work and were happy to be part of such a great event.

Some of the more interesting designs painted on the soles of shoes for auction

Mary Jo Geiger's palm tree in paradise
Mary Jo Geiger's palm tree in paradise
Jacy Vergara's tiger cat was a big hit
Jacy Vergara's tiger cat was a big hit
Kesha Gibson Carter - executive director of the Rape Crisis Center created this Hawaiian themed strong woman who faces all challenges and keeps on moving.
Kesha Gibson Carter - executive director of the Rape Crisis Center created this Hawaiian themed strong woman who faces all challenges and keeps on moving.
Melissa Ramsey of Fleet Feet created a running themed shoe art that had everyone stopping to admire it.
Melissa Ramsey of Fleet Feet created a running themed shoe art that had everyone stopping to admire it.
Victoria Ten Broeck auctioning off a minion
Victoria Ten Broeck auctioning off a minion
Enjoying the free food and festive atmosphere after hours at Fleet Feet.
Enjoying the free food and festive atmosphere after hours at Fleet Feet.

Many artists expressed their gratitude at being included in the event

It has always been said that the mark of a great volunteer opportunity is that the participants who put in the most work, are the most grateful that they were allowed to volunteer! That is how every sole painter felt as they watched their precious artwork being auctioned, hoping someone would find it worthy of a new home.

The bidding on the finished soles started at $15 and all sold for at least $20 or more with some going well past $100 with bidding wars on a few.

It was a fun event that raised at least a $1000 in one night with many donations being made outside of the auction and raffle tickets being sold for $10 for a generous arm's length, almost guaranteeing everyone would win something including three brand new pair of runnning shoes from Nike, Saucony and Adidas!

It was such a fun event that almost everyone requested there be another one, perhaps with even a pre-auction painting party where those who struggled to decorate their shoes hoped to use the new ideas they learned to create an even better sole art down the road and raise even more money for charity.

The Spinning Wheel shoe sole was a big hit with the crowd

One of the highest bids of the evening went on this shoe that created a bidding war frenzy.
One of the highest bids of the evening went on this shoe that created a bidding war frenzy.
Waterfall, flowers and butterlies made this sole a stand-out
Waterfall, flowers and butterlies made this sole a stand-out
Minion...need we say more! Thinking outside the shoe box!!!
Minion...need we say more! Thinking outside the shoe box!!!
Pre-viewing of the art soles
Pre-viewing of the art soles
"This would look lovely in your home or office...now what am I bid?"
"This would look lovely in your home or office...now what am I bid?"
The nanny project...get the kids to do the work for you and everyone will ooh and ahh and bid higher!
The nanny project...get the kids to do the work for you and everyone will ooh and ahh and bid higher!
Pretty as a picture.
Pretty as a picture.
Enjoying the evening
Enjoying the evening
An abundance of shoes
An abundance of shoes

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