Local Artists Transform Tornado Trash into Beautiful Treasures

In the aftermath of the tornado’s that hit Alabama in late April, many families left behind items that they considered trash. Jonna Chizik was volunteering in the Dadeville and Lake Martin area when she had an idea of transforming the items that were once considered treasures but are now considered trash.


Chizik collected various items and distributed them to many local and regional artists to transform back into beautiful treasures. Over 75 artists have revived items like bricks, doors and tables. Artists include art students at Auburn, well-known regional artists and even a former Auburn Tiger who now plays for the NFL.

"It was during many trips to the Dadeville and Lake Martin area where we witnessed the treasured possessions of so many being tossed to the side of the road as trash," Jonna Chizik said. "While walking through the debris, we were astounded at the items that managed to survive such an intense storm and how they stood strong through the wind and the rain."

Coach Gene Chizik and his wife Jonna founded The Chizik Family YouTurn Foundation about a year ago. The YouTurn Foundation’s mission is to partner with non-profit organizations in Alabama that focus on equipping youth with effective tools to make positive choices, allowing them to become successful citizens.

The YouTurn Foundation is hosting an event called ‘Trash2Treasure’ that will be held at the Event Center in Downtown Opelika on October 13. The event begins at 6 p.m. and the revived items will be available for bidding during a silent and live auction ending at 9 p.m.

Local caterers will present a "Taste of Auburn-Opelika" highlighting their favorite hors d’oeuvres and desserts. There will be a concert by Martha’s Trouble, Tim Jackson and Tim Chambliss to entertain the guests.

Some of the artists will speak about their experience transforming trash into treasure and what inspired their vision. ‘Trash2Treasure’ items range from furniture, canvas art, pencil art, quilts, fiber art, glass work, doors, shutters and various other pieces.

“I think this is a wonderful project,” said Virginia Bradshaw, an artist from Alex City that created a cross out of broken glass and pottery pieces. “Being able to help other people is really special to me. This was more than just doing an art piece.”

Proceeds from the ‘Trash to Treasure’ event will directly benefit children and families in the Dadeville, AL area who were affected by the devastating and deadly tornadoes that hit the state of Alabama on April 27, 2011.

Approximately 600 limited tickets will be sold and each ticket costs $75. For information about The YouTurn Foundation, how you can donate or to purchase tickets for the ‘Trash2Treasure’ event visit www.allinforyouturn.com.

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