Rock the Village: A comfortable seat, beautiful piece of art

Rock the Village is beautifying Pinehurst with painted rocking chairs all summer long. Pinehurst Business Partners, the Village of Pinehurst, and the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) are celebrating the U.S. Open with Rock the Village (RtV). RtV is a fundraising art installation project currently displaying 48 painted rocking chairs in Pinehurst. Each chair is a two-in-one: a comfortable seat and a beautiful piece of art. 

Aspiring to do something special for the community, Amanda Jakl—a Pinehurst Business Partners member and owner of Purple Thistle Kitchen & Company—conceptualized RtV. She was inspired by the 2014 U.S. Open, which was hosted in Pinehurst. In 2014, Pinehurst displayed numerous giant, painted golf balls and placed hundreds of rocking chairs around the village. Jakl built on these two concepts, innovating painted rocking chairs. 

Jakl needed support to realize RtV, so she formed the RtV Committee, recruiting Pinehurst employee Jill Lazusky, CVB employee Melissa Holt, and Pinehurst resident Kathy Spangler. 

The RtV Committee’s first step was picking the right chair. For the 2014 Open, Pinehurst purchased the chairs from the NC-based Troutman Chair Company. They were a hit then, so they seemed the obvious choice now.

The RtV Committee listed the chairs for anyone — individuals, businesses, organizations — to sponsor. Meanwhile, they compiled a list of artists to paint the sponsored chairs. For about six months, RtV searched for sponsors and artists. According to Jakl, they sold many more chairs than expected, and she couldn’t be happier.

Rock the Village: Comfortable seat, beautiful piece of art

Sponsors personally selected which artist would paint their chairs. These artists come from all walks of life, spanning from five-year-old children to senior citizens. “People have really embraced this concept, and the artists seem so excited about it,” said Jakl. 

Artists were given two themes to choose from: golf or Pinehurst. The RtV Committee was worried that artists might diverge from the guidelines or that every piece would look the same. To counter these possibilities, artists were asked to submit design concepts to RtV before painting.

RtV was amazed to see how the design concepts turned out. Each artist ended up bringing their own idea to the table. “It’s been fascinating to see how artists are interpreting Pinehurst or golf,” said Jakl. “The artists are so creative.”

After RtV approved concept designs, the painting process began. As the artists took up their brushes, the RtV devised the perfect spot to place each chair. “If someone goes around to see all the chairs, they’re going to see every business in our village,” said Jakl.

After over a year of effort, the painted chairs went up on May 20. They will be displayed for the rest of the summer, lasting throughout the U.S. Open and the U.S. Kids World’s Golf Championships, which visits Pinehurst every year. When each chair is finally removed on Aug. 31, it will be given to its sponsor, who will choose where it ends up.

RtV extends beyond the summer, too — all $10,000 raised will be donated to First Tee Kids, a nonprofit organization that introduces golf and its values to young people.

“We want to bring people into our village. RtV is all about celebrating the spirit of Pinehurst because this is a great little community,” said Jakl. “We want visitors to come and say, ‘Wow, this place is small, but it’s awesome.’” 

~Article and photos by Sandhills Sentinel reporter Andrew Sellers.

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