Glass Pumpkin Patch benefits nonprofits

10/11/2012 5:15 PM

08/08/2014 10:33 AM

Karg Art Glass is offering up an artful twist to the fall tradition of finding the perfect pumpkin. This weekend at Heartspring, the third annual Glass Pumpkin Patch will exhibit an array of colorfully crafted blown-glass pumpkin creations. It’s a partnership to raise awareness for the gallery and funds for two area nonprofits: Heartspring and The Down Syndrome Society of Wichita. Event organizers say it brings a boost to local art and the people the organizations serve.

“When we do this event, we partner with foundations where part of the proceeds will be donated. In looking at that, we thought of Heartspring and what they do for the community,” said Sherry Waters, events coordinator and Karg Art Glass sales associate. “This weekend is also the Buddy Walk for the Down Syndrome Society at Heartspring. It’s a win-win. It just made sense to do that. They serve so many people.”

This is the first year that Karg has joined with these organizations. Each organization will get a percentage of the proceeds from the glass pumpkin sales.

The Buddy Walk on Saturday is expected to raise around $82,000 while bringing out more than 4,000 walkers. Waters expects that many of them will take advantage of the pumpkin patch while they are at the event.

Erica VanEaton, in charge of community resources at the Down Syndrome Society of Wichita, said the partnership will allow for her organization to serve more people.

“We have other community resources that come, but nothing quite as big as this. It’s gotten us a lot more recognition,” she said. “All of the money will help bring awareness to Down Syndrome and our mission. It helps us provide new parents information with books and resources on how to move forward with their child.”

The pumpkin patch will be set up at Heartspring, 8700 E. 29th St. North, inside the Pediatric Services Building and open for perusing and shopping Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Pumpkins of all colors will be available for picking. Some appear frostbitten, such as one covered exclusively in a snow-white glow. Others contrast colors, with an orange stem anchoring a bold blue base. One of the most popular designs is a white mix with deep rust-orange. There are new designs this year, too, with different colors and minerals, and a few experimental looks. All were crafted and blown in-house at Karg Art by Rollin Karg and four other glass artists. Pumpkins are priced according to size, with smalls selling for $33, mediums for $49, larges for $99 and extra-larges for $200.

“By the time September comes, everyone is ready for the cooler weather, and they’re ready to change their decor. Pumpkins signal that autumn has started,” Waters said. “They can stay around for three months, easily through Thanksgiving. It allows you to bring on a different feeling for the interiors and exteriors of your home.”

Waters herself has a personal connection to the mission of Heartspring. She used their services when her son was deaf from the age of 2 months to 2 years and 2 months. She lived in Oklahoma at the time and traveled to Wichita for diagnostic testing and later for his speech therapy.

“They provided us with a great speech therapist as his speech was forming,” she said. “He’s 30 now and doing great. They serve a lot of needs. I’m honored to be working with them this year for this fun and exciting event.”

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