Notes from the Executive Director: Wet Paint Party and Art Sale
By Brenda Durant
This year, we knew we had to plan the Wet Paint Party and Sale during the pandemic. We have hosted the Party in various locations over the years: Sky City, Fat Mans, Julian Smith Casino, the Old Government House, and finally Sacred Heart Cultural Center. Early on, we partnered with Ooollee Bricker with Vintage Ooollee to bring us a vintage fashion show runway-style and most recently models dressed in fashion to fit our annual theme, posing on platforms throughout the Great Hall. We’ve always included a signature drink and a raffle during the night. What to do in 2021? Let’s go virtual!
The Wet Paint Committee, chaired by Christy Beckham, knew we’d do a virtual event. We researched platforms, not wanting to host a zoom meeting for Augusta’s most fabulous Art Party of the year. We produced a fun event, a mix of taped and live presentations hosted by the incredible duo of Karen Gordon and Kigg Cherry, with a party crash at Christy Beckham’s house, musical performances, and behind the scenes visits to artists’ homes and studios for a deeper dive into art creation. The wizards behind the curtain were Jamie Jackson and her husband Will running the show and making it all happen, as if by magic. I watched it on Saturday night, the YouTube version on my TV, the Facebook Live on my phone and my laptop cued with the sound off, just in case. I adored it. The show is posted to our YouTube channel if you want to take a look.
A committee member suggested we honor recently deceased local artist Philp Morsberger this year. His paintings and attitude fit in with our 2021 theme of Happiness, working together and light. We contacted a few people to speak about Philip during the evening. Lillie Morris and Shannon Morris (happy coincidence) produced two very lovely tributes and the Morris Museum allowed us to use a short video about Philip to share during the event. It was lovely.
The auction went live on Monday and anyone who wanted to bid or buy art could start doing that nice and early. This year we included some public art projects, allowing our community to contri
bute to expand our work in Laney Walker (Golden Blocks II) the storm drain painting or the new Storefront Mural program for downtown Augusta. We are pleased that the Leadership Augusta Class 2020 contributed to the expansion of Golden Blocks II. This is the first year we included some of our projects in the Wet Paint Catalog. Also new this year, we decided to try an online raffle. Board members gathered gift certificates from local restaurants and we offered 1 lucky winner the chance to win $900 in gift certificates. Congratulations to Lillie Morris who won the whole shebang. Lillie won’t have to cook for a month!
I was assigned the task of creating our signature drink for the event. Partnering with 2nd City Distillery and drinking many Manhattan’s and Old Fashioned’s this winter made bourbon the drink of choice. After extensive research and much trial and error, The Cure was created. It is a joyous mix of bourbon, honey-ginger syrup, fresh lemon, and a garnish of sugared ginger. Ed filmed me creating the drink in front of our painting by Philip Morsberger and my daughter Alex added the intro and outro making it look really great. Our show hosts Karen and Kigg seemed quite fond of the ‘gingerly drink”; they made and drank a few during the Saturday event!
Now it’s time to say thank you. I have a great Board. They listen, suggest, jump in, and help with all the varied projects we come up with throughout the year. The Wet Paint Committee is made up of board members and friends of the Arts Council who work every year to craft this event. My staff, we are a very small staff, currently just 4 of us, so we all are hands-on for our varied projects. For Wet Paint I have to thank especially Saundra Plunkett who worked on the Auction and donation program with grace and patience and Jamie Jackson worked on all the mechanics of the event, from run of show to live break-outs and monitoring our frantic messages like “No Sound! Help!” during the night. Rhian Swain with RedWolf is our step-staff; she attends our weekly staff meetings, manages our PR, monitors our social media, and created both the montage of Vintage Ooollee models and the beautiful program thanking sponsors and listing members along with images and contact info to complement the on-line auction. Thanks to the 46 artists who signed up to sell their work and to the 30 people who bought a raffle ticket! It takes a village. Thank you all!