This work by an unknown Moroccan artist is available in the Nickels for Nepal art sale.

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Art sale helps kids supported by Nickels for Nepal

If you go

* What: Benefit art sale for Nickels for Nepal.

* Where: Braxton Mill Artisans, 8719 Hixson Pike.

* Store hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

* Phone: 423-596-9217.

* Email:

* Website:


After readying 96 pieces of art for viewing last week, Christine Hockert thought she was finished. Then 50 more pieces rolled in.

No matter. She was pleased to have the additional works, all gifted to her by the artists for a sale benefiting Nickels for Nepal. Hockert is chairman of the board of the Chattanooga-based nonprofit, which works in partnership with the Gamma Chapter of Kappa Kappa Iota, a professional organization of teachers, to raise funds for schoolchildren in remote regions of the South Asian country.

Most of the artworks are from two prolific and philanthropic artists. Ernest Barnes of Tampa, Florida, has donated watercolor works in a variety of sizes, and Larry Bullington of The Master's Studio in Chattanooga has donated various mixed-media pieces.

"There are also some original artworks that I picked up during my travels to Nepal, Morocco and Japan for sale," Hockert says.

With a few exceptions, the artworks are now on view at Braxton Mill Artisans, a multi-vendor store in Lakesite that carries modern and vintage furniture and home furnishings. Collectors will have to check Facebook Marketplace for two large-scale paintings by Bullington. These 36- by 36-inch paintings are priced between $2,500 and $3,500, substantially higher than those stocked at the store.

"The lowest price is $10 for those that are not framed up to $25," Hockert says of the smaller works. "Framed artwork starts at $25 up to $325."

The art sale is one of several fundraisers put together over the years for Nickels for Nepal. The organization was established in 2009 by teachers from Chattanooga, and the first donation, of $250, was made in 2010.

"We were amazed at how much our volunteer coordinator, Nawaraj Baskota of Kavya School in New Baneshwor, was able to buy for the children in the Mijar Village," Hockert recalls.

So far this year, the organization has sent more than $7,000 for clean water projects, scholarships, school supplies, uniforms, socks and shoes for so-called street boys in Kathmandu, according to Hockert. Aid to the street boys, she explains, enables them to attend a school that provides them with two meals a day in addition to an education.

"Otherwise these boys work the streets and are homeless or living on the streets with their beggar parents," she says.

Hockert says past fundraisers have included pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners, information tables at school carnivals and car shows, and sales of T-shirts, candy bars and candles. Sales of art will join other ongoing efforts, which include online donation portals through PayPal and Facebook and the collection of pocket change from chapter members at monthly meetings.

Hockert says Bullington has donated artwork to Nickels for Nepal for at least the last five years; his wife is a Kappa Kappa Iota member. She describes his contributions as a combination of "oil paintings, abstract Sharpies on matboard ('take a line for a walk" style), woodburning and folk art."

Bullington says it's been "an honor and a privilege" to help the charity.

"We worked it out where I would start giving her these pieces usually 8-by-10 or smaller that she can sell easily at a fundraising event," Bullington says.

Barnes has retired and closed his gallery but still paints. He sends works to his sister Judith Largen, who lives here, to raise funds for the charity. His work is all watercolors in a variety of landscapes.

Hockert says the group anticipates raising more than $4,200 with the works on display, not counting the two more-expensive pieces.

The works will be on-site, she says, "until we sell them all."