‘Artini’: Marco Island Center for the Arts fundraiser back for another round

Lance Shearer

You can’t spell “party” without “art.”

There was a lot going on Wednesday evening at the Marco Island Center for the Arts. The center hosted the second outing of ‘Artini,’ their sort of alcohol-inspired fundraiser, an “off the wall” event in the sense that the paintings that were on the wall were broadly ignored during the festivities.

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There were paintings, being created live during the affair by artists Sasha Singh and Olga Tkachyk, and on of a mouse with a martini glass painted for the occasion. There was live candle making, candles in martini glasses, by Alexis Lessard of Marco Island Candle Company, in a variety of scents and colors.

Martini glasses were also much in evidence at the tables set up in the main gallery, but unlike last year’s inaugural Artini, in which local notables poured variations on the martini in a competition for donations, the miniature plastic martini glasses Wednesday held bites of food items prepared by six area caterers. The hors d’oeuvres included coctel de camarones, a Latin-inspired take on shrimp cocktail by Rock Lobster Chefs, a Romanian eggplant spread with micro-grains, tomatoes and tortilla chips by chef Daniela Craciun, and shrimp and scallop ceviche by Sage Events Catering.

There were liquid martinis in evidence at the bar, in the sense that a martini is any drink someone wants to serve, as long it sits in the iconic glass, and the pomegranate agave martini with mint and vodka, and the cucumber fizz refresher made with basil, simple syrup, limeade and gin bore little resemblance to anything James Bond would have shaken, or even stirred.

Not as though anyone minded. The approximately 125 revelers who attended the event also had wine as a drink choice, and were in a festive mood, listening to the song stylings of vocalist Matty Jollie, or having campy portraits shot in the Dibox Events photo booth.

Center for the Arts executive director Hyla Crane deflected credit for the high-energy event to administrative coordinator Christina Shutter, “our youngest staff member,” whom Crane said had taken the event, run with it, and given it a “youthful infusion.”

“This is my baby,” said Shutter. “The idea is to showcase all kinds of art. Art is not just paint on canvas. These food masterpieces are just as much art as the paintings on the walls.”

The paintings on the walls were the center’s adult student show, shortly to be replaced for a week by works created by area high school art students, and paintings inspired by the Apollo moon landing, soon to have its 50th anniversary.

“This is a party about people having fun,” said Crane, a “friend-raiser as much as a fundraiser.” She said the center will host Artini again next year, along with their October golf event and February gala, but “we’ll keep it fun. You never know what it might be.”

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For more information and upcoming events, call the Marco Island Center for the Arts, 1010 Winterberry Drive, at 239-394-4221 or visit the Center’s website: www.marcoislandart.org.