It’s Black & White — Miami County businesses love local artists
_________________________________ November, 2016
I had learned about the Miami County Arts Coalition when I heard about the “Black & White Gala” downtown Paola, Kansas. It behooved me to witness the event. When I did, I beheld a business community embracing its artists, in a creative and classy way.
Here’s how I stumbled upon it, per se, and learned about the Coalition’s active support of artists.
Saturday afternoon, I arrived in Paola, returning via my”Writer in Residence expedition.”
I dropped my luggage at the “Residence,” then walked to Spudley’s, a comfort food restaurant, for a bite and a cup o’ wine. Once settled, I called a taxi. More specifically the taxi in this quaint community. It was run by the mayor, Artie Stuteville, the sole driver.
Said hello, hello! Surprised her that I was back in town. Asked what were her hours if I needed a taxi after my late lunch. She said she had to sign off by 5 p.m., as she needed to attend an event.
No worries at-all, I said. I signed off, and apprised Spudley’s owner Pam Thompson that Mayor Stuteville was unavailable due to attending an event.
Mrs. Thompson handed me a brochure to the Black & White Gala, and said the Mayor must be going to that.
Black & White Gala
I gazed at the brochure. Twelve tables were featured for the Gala dinner. Each had a culinary host, or “Culinary Champion,” and an honored artist.
The event was invitation only, Mrs. Thompson informed. Her husband had just dropped off their donation cuisine.
I unfolded the brochure, to see a “flipside” listing the Tables. Spudley’s was listed as “Champion” for TABLE #1. Their MENU: Sirloin Tips Dinner. Mmm!
I perused the TABLES to seek other familiar Culinary Champions. Sure enough, there was Casa Somerset, TABLE #7. Their MENU: Tuscan Vegetarian Lasagne. My mouth watered. I knew Casa Somerset owner and chef Michael Hursey prepared it, and ver-ly likely used vegetables and herbs from his gardens.
I did not have an Invitation. By the time I was ready, I would arrive late. Yet as an interested Writer, I hoped they would welcome me to glimpse.
To visit the occasion
What do I have that is black & white and appropriate for a GALA, I pondered. Aw shucks, the perfect dress, my “Writer in Residence” dress that was black with white polka dots, was in storage.
I had here, plenty of black, in skirt, leggings and shirt. The white had to be in a black and white waist jacket.
My chin high, a ribbon at my ponytail, wearing low-heeled shoes, I entered the event.
A glimpse at the occasion
The place was buzzing. Folks sat at tables with black tablecloths. Exposed brick walls in the background, tall ceilings and hardwood floors.
I walked to the back bar that two ladies attended, wearing black pants and shirts, and asked to meet the event organizer. One of the ladies located her, and I met Miami County Arts Coalition board member Sandra Hartley.
Her eyes shined, and she smiled while I introduced myself. Ms. Hartley did not have time to elaborate now, yet we met days later, and I got the scoop regarding the GALA.
● This was the Coalition inaugural event in feting local artists. The festivities celebrated 21 Miami County artists, among them representing painting, sculpture, performing arts and photography.
● Local businesses covered the tickets. This so admission was free for artists and Coalition members to invite their own honored guests.
● Folks dressed for the occasion, enjoyed company with local artists, and delicious cuisine provided by local restaurants and caterers, followed by a presentation that featured slides of the honored artists’ works.
● The GALA was an extension of the Miami Arts Coalition goal to support local artists and to engage them in the community.
Fabulous! What a stellar model for supporting local artists.
For more information, visit MiCoArts.org
Check out the Miami County Arts Coalition REFLECTIONS Galleries, and the exhibits they feature in late 2016: “… take a ‘Gallery visits’ excursion”