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CHR’s Manatee Madness auction kicks off

By CHR - | Apr 6, 2021

PHOTO PROVIDED The public can bid on 15 manatee sculptures until April 15 for CHR’s Manatee Madness.

Community Housing and Resources’ Manatee Madness auction is in full swing on Sanibel and already Manatee Mer, adorned in thousands of Sanibel shells by artist Ginny Dickinson, has been sold. Officials reported that there are 15 other manatee sculptures, however, waiting for owners.

From mythical mermaids and salty sea captains to birds and wildlife, there is even a fashion diva riding her very own bicycle — and everything else in between. All 16 sculptures have been transformed into works of color and beauty by local artists, with 15 of them set up across the city as part of the fundraiser. They will be available to view until April 15, when the auction ends.

“We believe that all our talented artists have given a new meaning to the word creativity when it comes to these manatees,” Executive Director Melissa Rice said. “Now we hope you’ll support affordable housing on Sanibel by bidding high and often, or you can select the ‘Buy it Now’ option and own your favorite manatee right away.”

In addition to the sculptures, there is a smaller version — “Baby Manee” — that travels to restaurants and businesses around the islands as part of CHR’s Give Back Wednesday events.

“All funds raised will help support our mission to provide affordable housing for families and individuals who work on and who serve our island community,” event co-chair and CHR Board Member Laura DeBruce said. “We are delighted that so many artists agreed to donate their time and talent to our fundraising efforts.”


The contributing artists include Danielle Branchaud, Cath Branwood, Ginny Dickinson, Tim Finfrock, Kristina Jackson, Cheryl Logan, Taryn Manning, Anita Force Marshall, Bob Marshall, Kym Mason, Rena Martinson, Melinda Maugans, Lacy McClary, Marianne Ravenna, Joan Tangren Reynolds, Jim and Patty Sprankle, Brian Weaver, and Peter Zell.

DeBruce and event co-chair Arlene Dillon have worked with a small but dedicated committee, including Lena Brown and Lisa Ann Miller, to make CHR’s Manatee Madness a success.

“Between Zoom calls, manatee deliveries, artist logistics, booklet publication, and sponsor deliveries of the final manatees, this small committee made it all happen, and we had fun in the process,” Dillon said. “What a great way to safely raise much needed funds for CHR in the year of COVID, we are so lucky to have such a wonderful community.”

The presenting sponsor for Manatee Madness is The Sanctuary Golf Club Foundation.

The manatee sponsors each hosting a sculpture are Bailey’s General Store, Billy’s Bikes, CIELO, FineMark National Bank & Trust, Heidrick & Co. Insurance, MudBugs Cajun Kitchen, Pfeifer Realty Group, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank and The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company. Also, DeBruce Blackman, John Henshaw & Associates Inc., Island Home Service, Island Vacations of Sanibel & Captiva and Superior Title in the Treetops Center are hosting one.

Individual family sponsors include Jim and Dulce Doss, Jo and Manny Fernandez, Ed and Annette Hendrick, Ellen and Dave Raisbeck, and Dick and Sheridan Snell. In collaboration with other local non-profits and businesses on the island, these manatees can be visited at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation’s Bailey Homestead and Ding Darling Nature Store 2.

“Time and again, I am humbled by and grateful for the support of our community,” Rice said. “Especially during these turbulent times when there is so much need for affordable housing and the other support that we give to our residents, the generosity of our community is appreciated.”

For more information, visit www.32auctions.com/MM2021 or pick up a Manatee Madness booklet at Bailey’s General Store, at 2477 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel. To keep up to date on the fundraiser, sign up CHR’s newsletter at sanibelchr.org.