During this year of nature's painted-lady butterflies in the skies, the kaleidoscope of artists' butterflies that took up temporary "Migration Celebration" residence on the lawn of Pioneers Museum this fall took flight to permanent homes in the community.
For 10 years, colorful butterflies have popped up all around the community, in gardens, yards and on street corners, a $1 million fundraiser of local artists and Rotary Club of Colorado Springs. They have been auctioned to benefit arts programs in District 11 schools and for the Rotary Community Services Fund.
On Oct. 21, bidders gathered at The Broadmoor, and others online, for the Flight Gala to raise bid paddles for this year's 24 butterflies, including several blank ones to be commissioned by the buyers. More than $100,000 was raised.
Proceeds will go for D-11 art grants, which last year totaled $35,000 for scholarships, a teachers' boot camp, engineering kits for elementary students and a three-day series on computer-aided drafting, landscape design and horticulture/permaculture for an entire school.
Rotary support included Champions high school scholar athletes, Mock Trial and holiday help for families.
Those who had admired the butterflies on the museum's lawn voted for their favorites: People's Choice, "Mariposa" by Verena Bongco-Salvatore, and runners-up "The Science of Art" by Erin Oesper-Nytes and "The Flight of the Phoenix" by Nancy Neale, John Martin and Eric McCue.
Spurred on by auctioneer Kevin Holt, butterflies were sold for several thousand dollars each, some for more than $5,000. They can all be seen at csflight.org.