The successful Barn Cats art fundraiser several years ago raised much-needed money to continue the renovation of the Gaston Livery Stable at 1315 Richland Avenue East. According to Friends of Gaston Livery Stable Board President Coleen Reed, “The Barn Cats had a reunion and as a result, the cats had kittens!”
Barn Kitten Matilda is the creation of Joanne Crouch.
On October 21, two ”litters” of artist-painted Barn Kittens will be on display to the public and up for adoption during a 1 to 4 p.m. drop-in called “It’s a Family Affair – Kittens at the Barn.” The event will be held at Gaston Livery Stable. Admission is cat food and/or related cat items. “There are 14 Barn Kittens – seven small, life-size ones, and seven larger ones that have been painted by prominent local artists. In addition, one of each ‘litter’ will be offered ‘naked’ (unpainted) so that it can be customized by an artist to the specifications of the winning bidder,” explained Coleen. “Visitors can participate in fun auctions throughout the afternoon to win a Barn Kitten to take home. However, the winners need not be present to ‘adopt’ (win) a kitten.”
“All proceeds from ‘adoption proceedings’ will benefit the Gaston Livery Stable,” she continued. “There’s still a mortgage to pay, and we’re trying to pay it down.”
Free lemonade, cookies, and popcorn will be available at the drop-in. There will also be games for children and tours of the barn.
Patronized by the Winter Colony members who came to Aiken for the winter with their carriages many years ago, the Gaston Livery Stable is one of only “a handful” in the country that has a carriage lift. The lifts took the Winter Colony carriages to the second floor to be stored until their owners’ return. In recent years many donated volunteer hours and funds have brought the barn nearly back to its original condition. “The lift is now operational,” said Coleen.
Participating artists include Gretchen Hash-Hefner, Suzan Sallstrom, Joanne Crouch, Kimberly Peyser, Gary Dexter, Sharon Taylor Padgett, Deby Stewart, Nancy Marine, Charlotte Fussell, and Gail Ebner.