Painted Pumpkin sale to raise money for sick kids

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS -- From Snow White to Angry Birds, ghosts to sports teams' logos, the painted pumpkins for sale at the 29th-annual Circle of Friends Pumpkin Patch embrace diversity.

Drawn and painted by members of Circle of Friends -- most of whom live in Northeast Tarrant County -- pumpkins ranging from the size of a clenched fist to 18 inches tall and larger will be sold Saturday.

Since 1984 the pumpkin sale has been the group's only fundraiser to support programs for Cook Children's Medical Center patients with cancer and blood diseases.

That includes "camperships" for 4- and 5-year-olds to go to Camp Sanguinity at Camp John Marc in Meridian in July.

Vicki Kight, pumpkin chairwoman, said the work awakens self-awareness.

"People discover that they have skills they didn't know they had," she said.

Group member JoAnne Houston said she had never drawn anything but flowers before she sat down to put a goblin's face on a pumpkin.

"I didn't know I could just look at something and draw it," she said.

An artist whose regular medium is oil on canvas, Anita Taraba said that acrylic on pumpkin is challenging and less forgiving.

"Every time I get going on a straight line I hit a crease," she said.

Another oil artist, Judy Corley said the pumpkin painting became her passion six years ago.

"I love it," she said. "It's good talk therapy, because you meet women you'd never get to know otherwise and just sit and talk and paint. When you look at it from beginning setup through the drawing, painting and embellishing, it's a labor of love. You have to love it or you wouldn't do it otherwise."

The 2011 take was around $15,000, and Kight said less than 10 percent of it went into production costs.

"The space is donated, much of the materials are donated, and the pumpkins are bought at a nice discount," she said. "Nothing is spent on administration."

The group doesn't set a campaign goal because of the unpredictability of the economy, weather and pumpkin crop, spokeswoman Susan MacDonald said.

Terry Evans, 817-390-7620

Twitter: @fwstevans