The butterfly invasion began in June as 31 metal creations, decorated by local artists, alighted at numerous downtown locations. And while the exhibit came down this month, the sculptures still can be previewed Tuesday at Cheyenne Mountain Resort.

The sixth annual "Butterflies and Friends" is a service project of the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs. The pieces will be auctioned (and, in one case, raffled off) at a gala next month. Half of what is raised will go to funding art programs in Colorado Springs School District 11 schools, including McAuliffe Elementary School, Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy and Mitchell High School. The other half will go to the club's other philanthropic programs.

Last year, "Butterflies and Friends" raised more than $140,000 through the live and silent auctions, a raffle and butterfly sponsorships.

"Anytime you can help kids and provide funding for young children who don't have the necessary funds for simple things like art that many of us had growing up, it's a good thing" says Tony Cerato, foundation chair for the Rotary Club.

"There's documentation on how the arts can stimulate the brain and interest kids, and very often can keep kids in school."


Mulson can be reached at 636-0270.