Main Event: Artbash is 'highlight of the year' for some

Food and drink were provided by Pinnacle Catering always a favorite.

Creatively clad in an eclectic mix of denim and diamonds, a crowd of nearly 300 guests attended this year's Artbash, "Denim and Diamonds,"Oct. 23 at the Rochester Art Center.

Gross proceeds of some $35,000 fund contemporary art exhibitions and education programs of the RAC.

"This is our annual fundraiser," said RAC board president and event co-chairman Larry Guse. "And it brings a nice cross-section of the community, including artists and supporters of the art center, together."

"The art center is one of the premier gathering places in Rochester," director of development Sandy Thompsonsaid. "The programs are distinct, such as the Art and Business Breakfasts, which have been really well attended."

The breakfasts, which began in May, are the RAC's newest community-oriented program, and provide "mutual benefit between the business and arts communities," Thompson said.


Board vice-president Bradley Nuss, who attended with wife Rebecca, said they are supporters of the arts, and enjoy collecting contemporary art.

"I like the openness, the novelty, the free spirit behind contemporary art," he said. "And Artbash is always a fun event. It's a highlight of the year for me."

Throughout the evening, guests of Denim and Diamonds could bid on silent auction items, view gallery exhibitions, sip the signature cocktail, The Blue Martini, and listen to music by Heavy Set.

Silent auction items included contributions from 11 local artists who created pieces incorporating denim.

Jeff Jurewicz, a visual artist and poet, created a pastiche which, he said, "pays homage to Van Gogh's Irises and Roses." Jurewicz, who often works in acrylics, said he had never worked with denim before in his art.

"This is a labor of love for the art center," he said.

"We're just proud to support the arts and the art center," said attendee Carol Thouin, who works for Think Mutual Bank, a sponsor of the event. Thouin attended with her sister, Robyn Anderson.

"I've been to the art center many times," Anderson said. "I'm often here on Thursdays, and I just love the gift shop."


Post-Bulletin food writer Holly Ebelattended with friends Lucy Bahnand Allie Good.

"I'm amazed by the decorations this year," Ebel said. "And I love to see the work of the community artists."

Good, who was board president in 2009, said she has good memories of coming to the art center as a child.

"I took art lessons from Mr. Saltzman," she said.

"Now, my husband Andyand I are art museum junkies," Good added.

Attendee Cris Charlesworth, who came with husband Johnand their son Dan,along with friend Danielle Dripps, enjoyed putting her denim and diamonds ensemble together.

"I picked up the hat and earrings on my trip to Vegas, and then checked a Pinterest site for more ideas. I love the theme. What a fun thing to do," she said.

Attendees Gregand Nancy Carlsontraveled from Northfield for Denim and Diamonds, as they would like to be more engaged in the Rochester community.


"Arts are important in our lives," Nancy said. "They often get overlooked. It's important to bring attention to them."

"What the art center brings to the community is vitality," said attendee Ellen Welles. "It's a part of a lifestyle.

Welles said she used to have an art gallery in the Twin Cities.

"Art really adds to the beauty of people's lives. It brings culture to everyone's life."

For more information on the programs and exhibitions of the RAC, visit .

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