SMILES benefit asks donors to pony up
To learn more
Artists and sponsors interested in participating in the "Prancing Carousels" exhibition should call SMILES at (262) 882-3470 or e-mail email@example.com. Artist packets and sponsorship information also are available at www.prancingcarousels.com.
Deadline for artist submissions is Friday, Feb. 20.
DARIEN Horses again will populate the streets of Lake Geneva this summer as SMILES therapeutic riding center launches its second public art exhibition.
The "Prancing Carousels" exhibition follows in the hoof prints of the successful "Horsing Around Town Exhibition," which put 80 life-sized colts painted by artists in store windows and on sidewalks last summer.
The fundraiser honors the animal that makes the SMILES therapeutic riding program possible, said Sherry Monty, executive director. Plus, this year is special: The center is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
"Horses have always held a special place with people," she said. "And we chose the carousel horse because it's sort of a celebratory horse."
SMILES, which stands for Special Methods in Learning Equine Skills, specializes in therapeutic riding for children and adults with disabilities.
"Prancing Carousels" will trot out 65 carousel horses painted by local and national artists and sponsored by local businesses and organizations.
Selected artists will have three months to transform the blank sculptures. Each life-size fiberglass horse, including carousel pole, stands 5 feet tall. Tabletop sculptures, designed to be displayed indoors, also are available.
SMILES began soliciting artists and sponsors two weeks ago, and the response has been positive, Monty said.
"We're excited to see what comes in," she said. "(The artists) think (the carousel theme) lends itself well to creative expression."
A kick-off is planned June 6, when the completed horses will be on display before hitting the streets of Lake Geneva for four months.
The painted horses will be auctioned Sept. 19, and all proceeds will benefit SMILES. The "Horsing Around Town" exhibition last summer raised $168,000, enough to cover one year of operating SMILES.
Monty said the center again has high hopes for the exhibition.
"It's just an exciting and fun thing all summer long," she said. "Last year, we had people coming in all the time saying, 'I saw the horses in Lake Geneva. They're so beautiful.' We're looking forward to that again."
Monty said not only will the exhibition provide the center with a financial boost, but it also will bring attention to the concept of therapeutic riding.
"It's not just our program," she said. "These programs are all over the country. We hope this will raise awareness of what programs like this can do for people with special needs."