Soirees and shindigs, parties and pride — the fall social season is in full swing. The calendar occasions include everything from fundraising galas to events celebrating local artists, and while not all are black tie, there is definitely a special night out ambiance accompanying each one.
The invitation for the 15th annual Storybook Soiree featured a closed gate that opened to reveal the hidden details inside, an appropriate reference for the Children’s Museum and SciWorks fundraiser. Held at the Millennium Center on Oct. 14, the theme of the night was “A Secret Garden” and the sparkling floral décor matched a bouquet of evening wear colors, all a nod to the favorite children’s book that inspired the evening.
Elizabeth and Jason Marley and Cristen and Ben Sessions were the chairs for the gala. The couples arrived early to greet guests and talked about how the theme was developed.
“ ‘A Secret Garden’ is a favorite book for a lot of people when they are little, so we thought it would be a great choice,” said Elizabeth Marley. “All of the donations will support the Children’s Museum, which is a wonderful resource and place where children can go to play and learn.”
SciWorks executive director Paul Kortenaar joined Kelli Isenhour and Marley for a bit early in the evening. Elizabeth Kaneru, Susan Conway, Kristin Bennett and Cara and Buck Byrum attended, enjoying hors d’oeuvres and drinks while perusing silent auction items. Amanda and Jason Whalen did the same, and nearby, Emily Parsley, Ashley Clark, Lynn Pocock and Katie Fowler took advantage of the pre-seated portion of the evening for conversation.
Honorary chairs Bartlett and Wyatt Bassett spent time looking over the auction items before bidding time expired. Children’s Museum executive director Elizabeth Dampier paused from her official duties for the evening just long enough for a couple of quick photos with her husband, Scott Dampier, Hunter and Alli Cords, Kevin and Lexi Trempe, and Debra Marshall.
“We really thought a lot about this idea of unlocking a garden,” Elizabeth Dampier said. “When children visit the museum and SciWorks, we help them unlock their potential. This is the first fundraising event since the Children’s Museum merged with SciWorks, and we’re really talking about how we can work together to help young people explore the arts and science in unique ways.”
Take Pride in Art
Nineteen Triad area artists, both amateur and professional, have their work on display at Sawtooth’s Corridor Gallery until Nov. 14, and many enjoyed the opening reception sponsored by Pride Winston-Salem on Oct. 6. A precursor to the Oct. 15 Pride parade and street festival, the Take Pride in Art reception included painting, photography, mixed media, stained glass, pottery and video, all created by LGBTQ artists.
Jerry Morin, president of the Pride board of directors, staffed the welcome table and greeted guests along with fellow board members and partners Kandi Villano and Lori Noel. In one of Sawtooth’s studio classrooms, staff from BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse served up wings and beef and pulled pork sliders along with craft beer and cider.
Nearby, Marie Brown, a sponsor representative from Barefoot Wines, told guests about her company as they sampled a variety of wines and spritzers.
“We sponsor many nonprofits and charity events, but Pride is by far the biggest thing we do,” Brown said. “Barefoot supports the LGBTQ community events across the country because diversity and inclusivity are part of our corporate values.”
Chef Stephanie Tyson and partner Vivian Joiner took a little time away from their Sweet Potatoes restaurant to tour the exhibition. Joiner has studied photography in Sawtooth’s darkroom through Salem College and has a piece in the show. Another photographer, Joy Ritenour, attended the reception with her wife, Amy Garland.
“I shot several pieces at previous Pride festivals, so it just made sense to submit those for this show,” Ritenour said.
Alex Norwood attended the event with his husband, Matt Dyson, who serves on the Sawtooth Board of Directors, and presented two works of art for the show — Venus on Venus and Mars on Mars. Randy Mabe and Ellen Hendrix created ceramics for the show, and Mabe was excited to sell his very first piece during the reception. Chatting with his husband, Don Evins, and fellow artist Todd Hoover, Mabe said, “That gave me the confidence I needed to submit some work to sell at Deck the Halls in December.”
Deck the Halls is Sawtooth’s annual holiday sale of fine crafts and art.
Sawtooth officials said that a crowd favorite was Ace, an acrylic painting of a white cow in a rustic wood frame painted by Marty Lineberger, who noted that he grew up in the country and spent a lot of time outdoors.
“That simple life and love of nature and animals definitely influences my creative process,” he said.
Kevin Mundy, assistant executive director at Sawtooth, said this is the first time an exhibition of this scale has been presented in Winston-Salem made up exclusively of LGBTQ artists.
“There is a wealth of talent in this segment of our community,” he said. “I see it on a daily basis with instructors and students and from my own personal artistic friends who identify as gay, lesbian or transgender. I am thrilled that Sawtooth can make history in a small way by being the first to present this type of show.”
Michael Isley has taken classes in glass and ceramics at Sawtooth and has a stained glass piece in the show titled Morning Sun. Isley’s work hangs next to a piece by Nancy David, who was his stained glass instructor.
Sawtooth executive director JoAnne Vernon and her husband, Ken Otterbourg, talked with Sharon Hardin and her husband, Will Willner, as well as Arts Council President and CEO Jim Sparrow, participating artists Rodney Windsor, Dean Grubbs, Sherry Paylor and Marty Lineberger, and Milton Rhodes Center Events Manager Sarah Smith.
Former Sawtooth intern Danny Ekstrand attended the reception with his husband, Eric Ekstrand. Danny Ekstrand developed an educational display showcasing Keith Haring, Robert Mapplethorpe and three additional LGBTQ artists.
“LGBTQ artists have had a tremendous impact on the visual art world over the years, and these five are just a small sampling to illustrate that point,” Ekstrand said.