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A Monster of an Auction on First Friday in Berkeley

Tenn Street Art is hosting Monster Makers on this upcoming First Friday. The event features an auction of local artists' interpretations of A Monster to Love, which donates an identical monster to a child in need for every one purchased.
On this First Friday (May 3), Tenn Street Art in the Berkeley neighborhood is auctioning off some of the oddest and cuddliest beasts in all of monsterkind, and it's for a good cause.

The entity behind the fundraiser, A Monster to Love is the creation of Ray Tollison and his twin 11-year-old sons, Ben and Sam, who felt every child should have a monster to love. To this end, for each monster doll they sell, an identical twin is donated to a child in need, including refugee kids. 

This "buy one, give one" philosophy encompasses stock monsters and blobs ($25 to $70) as well as custom monsters ($100 and up) -- you're encouraged to send sketches. Ben is the monster visionary and designer while Sam spearheads the needlework, says Ray.

The trio have produced nearly 1,000 monsters in the last two years. That sounds like a lot of work, right? "It is," says Ray. "We're starting to get to the point where we can't keep up."

For Monster Makers, 22 local artists have teamed with the Tollisons, creating monsters from custom fabrics selected by each artist, who then customized their entry with bling of all descriptions. "Everybody did a great job," says Ray. He highlights the "pretty crazy" monsters from Nicky Alden of Denver's Ink Lounge and Amber Alves' Carrotzilla. "It comes with a plush bunny," says Ray. "That's Carrotzilla's food."

The auction, which benefits the Art & Justice League of Denver, will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at Tenn Street Coffee & Books at  at 4418 Tennyson St. Tenn Street Art Curator Sharon Geriash says her "gallery inside a coffeeshop" has been open for six years and does both solo exhibitions and a couple of big calls for entry every year.

She connected with the Tollisons and hosted an event for them last year, leading to Monster Makers. Bids will start at $100 on Friday, and the monsters will be on display through the end of May.

Read more articles by Eric Peterson.

Eric is a Denver-based tech writer and guidebook wiz. Contact him here.
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