Editor’s note: This is one in a periodic series called Stepping Up, highlighting moments of compassion, duty and community in uncertain times. Have a story we should tell? Send it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Stepping Up.”
This sidewalk sale has been quite a hit.
Aaron Hooley has turned his passion for art into food for families in need during the coronavirus shutdown, making metal sculptures he puts out on his Montlake neighborhood sidewalk, with the suggestion buyers make a donation to Northwest Harvest.
Hooley said he has made 50 to 60 metal sculptures, which he said have raised $13,500 for the hunger-relief network, and he has no plans to stop.
“I saw so many people unemployed, and with us not having a complete federal response, I felt like people needed food,” Hooley said. “I was reading in the newspaper about food banks running out of food, and the article was encouraging people to donate.”
That spurred Hooley into action, and he can often be seen working on his art outside of his home at 2316 16th Ave. E.
“It’s kind of a random collection,” said Hooley, who turned to metal sculpture about six years ago after working on murals and painting. “I would say the most popular are metal spokes that I shape into a globe. And I’ve been cutting out continents from sheet metal and hammering them and spray-painting them. It’s like a globe shape with the continents falling off, like a mobile.”
Hooley, who works in sales for F5 Networks, has been spending 20 to 30 hours a week working on the sculptures and is making about 10 a week.
“It takes a half-hour for the simple things, up to about five or six hours (for more complex sculptures),” he said.
One person donated $5,000, way above Hooley’s suggested donations, which go as high as $500. The great response has been a pleasant surprise for Hooley.
“People sometimes send me messages that they donated, sometimes they knock on the door,” he said. “I have been really, really impressed with how generous people have been. It has definitely inspired me to make more because people have been so generous in donating.”