In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the Erie Philharmonic challenged local artists to create pieces using damaged instruments. The artwork was displayed at different locations throughout the summer and will be auctioned off Sept. 28 at the Erie Art Museum. MC Gensheimer, an assistant professor of communication arts at Gannon University, produced “Chair-ished Violin.” Working with acrylic, a secondhand chair and an old violin, Gensheimer breathed new life into an instrument while supporting a worthy cause.
How did you become involved with the art auction?
The Philharmonic contacted me and said, “We would like to have you work on this. Could you come pick out an instrument?” So I went into the Philharmonic and there was this big pile of instruments and I picked out this gorgeous violin.
How long did it take to complete the piece?
It took me about three weeks by the time I got the chair ready – sanded, cut, glued, reinforced, embedded, pegged, primed and painted. You’ll see on it, I love tone on tone, so it’s a black chair with black shiny dots on it, kind of like whole notes. And then it’s got an edge of kind of this burnt orange color, which is the color of the violin.
What was your inspiration?
I got the inspiration from listening to and watching the musicians coming in and out of our hallway here [in the Schuster Theatre] because of the Erie Chamber Orchestra. And I noticed that all of them carried their violins like babies. Embedding it in the wood and protecting it was part of what the “Chair-ished Violin” was all about.
Would you describe yourself as musically inclined?
No, not at all. I was not blessed with that gift, but I think I have the ability to take a rhythm, harmonies, notes and translate those into something tangible. But no, I can’t sing.
Why did you choose to support the Philharmonic?
I think the Philharmonic does great work for the Erie community and the region. I think there’s nothing like sitting and listening to good, high-quality music in a professional setting. You are bathed in music and it is wonderful. I think any organization lasting 100 years and still functioning and thriving is a tremendous plus. It’s a testament to the work and the support and the board and the management, so anything we can do to help them.