Charlie Brown auction to help Sept. 11 victims

by Tom Ford

Charlie Brown will be lending a hand at the Mall of America on Sunday to help victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

A portion of proceeds from an auction of Charlie Brown statues – which were on display this summer in St. Paul as “Charlie Brown Around Town” – will be sent to East Coast relief funds for victims of the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.

Originally scheduled for Sept. 30, the auction was postponed after the attacks last month to allow the event to play a positive role in national relief efforts, said Hart Johnson, vice president of Tivoli Too, Inc., which designed several of the statues.

“(The proceeds) are a significant way to recognize the victims and do something meaningful,” he said.

Of the 63 statues to be auctioned, one is a patriotic Charlie, made after Sept. 11. It features Charlie wearing an American flag shirt and U.S.A. hat, and Woodstock holding an American flag. All the proceeds from the auction of that statue, designed by Tivoli Too, will go to relief funds.

Johnson said the motivation behind the new statue came from the Charles Schulz family.

“They decided they would like some type of connection and to create more meaning for the auction,” he said.

The “Charlie Brown Around Town” program was a follow-up to last year’s “Peanuts on Parade.”

Organized as a tribute to St. Paul native Charles Schulz, the programs displayed more than 100 statues, designed by local artists, around St. Paul during the past two summers.

Megan Ryan, director of marketing and promotions for the city, said the programs were successful in bringing hundreds of visitors to the city.

“People would come to St. Paul and check out the different statues and discover the city along the way,” she said.

Last year’s “Peanuts on Parade” program, she said, brought visitors from all 50 states and almost 50 countries.

In addition to benefitting relief efforts, auction proceeds will fund scholarships to Art Instruction Schools – a Minneapolis-based correspondence school at which Schulz both attended and taught – and St. Paul’s College of Visual Arts.

Money from the auction will also help fund an urban park featuring permanent bronze statues of several Peanuts characters.

Located at Fifth and St. Peter streets in downtown St. Paul, the park is a further tribute to Schulz and is set to open next summer, Ryan said.


Tom Ford covers St. Paul and welcomes comments at [email protected]