For years galleries have offered wine and soft alcoholic beverages at gallery receptions across the world. So much so that wine has become synonymous with art buying and the elite, hushed gallery reception scene. Mostly reserved for small private-party guest lists, yet with the new phenom of ArtWalks offering hundreds of people an opportunity to view new works, serving wine can be costly, and sometimes dangerous. Yet, wine servers can also provide a relaxed atmosphere and are still admired by most Art Walks around the country.
What can be considered an acceptable art celebratory social gathering in support of the arts can quickly become problematic if not organized and regulated properly. Many times visitors and curators partake in libations to ease anxiety knowing there will be plenty of conversations and artist’s meet and greets, so a sense of euphoria and decreased inhibitions during a lively occasion of gallery hopping is okay as long as the Walker can keep their intoxicated actions polite, respectful and courteous to the people around them. With massive crowds it only takes one overly influenced Walker with nothing uplifting to say, unable to balance, and drunk past the point of being uninhibited to ruin the party and make it unsafe for others. With some ArtWalks hosting receptions of 10 or more galleries, questions remain: Is it safe to serve to everyone? What about carding minors? Should patrons be able to leave with open containers?
To Drink or Not To Drink…that is the question.
Here’s a look at some successful ArtWalks that do support drinking and how they use it to the advantage of the community.
The third Thursday events promoted by the Jackson Hole Gallery Association in Wyoming have been pleasing gallery folk, artists and the general public all summer. With the galleries working in unison there’s more energy and more excitement. When someone buys they get a special treat. Although the galleries don’t all serve alcoholic beverages themselves, they work with local bars to help give buyers and potential collectors incentives.
Down the street at West Lives On Gallery, Jerry DeFrance enjoyed a snack and a glass of complimentary wine as he gazed at traditional cowboy artworks. After making a purchase at the last ArtWalk, he said Margene Jensen, curator of West Lives On, wrote him a personal note inviting him to come down for another show.
“You can’t beat that,” DeFrance said. “If you appreciate art, it gives you a chance to wander with a beverage or a munchie and meet an artist or two.”
But it doesn’t stop there. Many people found coupons at the downtown Jackson Hole galleries offering them a discounted beverage in the nearby Wort Hotel’s Silver Dollar Bar. Manager Jim Waldrop said the partnership is a resounding success.
“I appreciate the work the gallery association does for the gallery community and the business community as well,” Waldrop said. “I was really pleased with the amount of people walking around. It did generate a great deal of activity throughout all of downtown.”
Wine Times Jazz Plus Art Equals 14 Years of Success!
The Brentwood Art Society near Sand Creek Road, Brentwood is hosting its 14th annual Art, Wine and Jazz Festival and it’s a PARTY. On Saturday and Sunday, August 29-30th, the Streets of Brentwood will be the scene of local artists displaying their wares, student art displays, local wineries and micro-breweries and some of the Bay Area’s finest jazz musicians.
It’s a truly family-friendly, community affair and all the favorites will again make an appearance including the Artist Garden, featuring 30 artists displaying their work in sculpture, painting, jewelry, ceramics, photography and more. There’s even a special area devoted to a high school art show representing both Liberty and Heritage High students and a popular children’s area to keep youngsters happy and engaged in making instruments, painting and creating other crafts. The Wall of Art will display creations by Brentwood Union’s elementary students and high school students will create Chalk Art on the sidewalks.
Wine at the Fountain will host local vintners and wineries that will offer their award-winning wines, including those from Hannah Nicole Vineyards, Bloomfield Vineyards, Tamayo Family Vineyards, J Doran Vineyards, and Cline Cellars. For those who prefer micro-brews, Black Diamond Brewery and BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery will provide cold ones.
“Our objective here is to get people to the party. That occurs automatically with the children’s artwork, local artists and people interested in sampling our local wineries and micro-breweries,” said Ronald Bonner, festival music producer. “This all draws a sizeable crowd, but it’s my belief that what really brings people to a party atmosphere is the music entertainment.”
The weekend event is the Art Society’s largest annual fundraiser with proceeds going to arts programs and events in the community, including the Art Docent program at all Brentwood Union School District schools, scholarships to graduating seniors, summer Art Walk Events, the Artists Open Studio Tour, Student Art Show, Broadway Under the Stars theater performances, and a monthly open mic hosted by the city’s poet laureate, Kati Short.
Raising money for Charity and Getting Drunk at the Same Time? No brainer.
Next time you want to grab a drink during Art Walk, consider the monthly pop-up bar for a good cause, Cocktails for Humanity, who has raised close to $5,000 for Fort Lauderdale charities since starting up in May. Every last Saturday of the month during FAT Village’s Art Walk, Cocktails for Humanity volunteers will be be there serving stiff drinks with all proceeds, including tips, benefit a participating nonprofit.
Organizers Jill and Eric Barton came up with the idea in February after attending another local fund raiser, that served food, which raised more than $500,000 for one lucky non organization that works with the homeless and hungry.
“We left that thinking, ‘This is just making a huge impact on the community. We love to cook, we love to entertain—how can we do something like it?’” said Jill Barton, who is a law professor at the University of Miami.
They first considered throwing a dinner at their own home, but ultimately decided that General Provision, which attracts visitors to its art show during Art Walk, was the right outlet. The demand for their cocktails has been so high that the first couple of times, the bar would run out of supplies before the night was over.
After raising $1,200 their first go-round, Cocktails for Humanity raised another $3,500 over the next two Art Walks, in support of at-risk youth. The nonprofit community’s response has been so great that Cocktails for Humanity has charities lined up through June 2016, according to Jill Barton.
SUI: Strolling Under the Influence
Waukegan, Illinois, is known for its downtown arts community, and has a monthly art walk, but their next Art Walk event is special. It includes wine tasting, and at least 20 Waukegan businesses including some who will pour wine, meet and greet visitors, and offer special attractions.
The event brings more people into the art galleries downtown, and the $10 gift certificate to Waukegan businesses that comes with the $25 admission price includes a souvenir wine glass and wine tastings at participating businesses and art galleries. Each participating business selects its own libations to serve. Downtown has been branded as an art destination for at least 10 years but the Wine and Art Stroll is something people look forward to every year. For example, Sidecar Studios, 405 Washington St., will sponsor a painting and sipping party at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m, called “50 Shades of Grape”. Participants can use their $10 gift card to get a canvas and other materials to paint wine glasses, with professional artists guiding them. So many intoxicating privileges its hard to count the best way is to attend for an experience you may or may not remember.