By Kim Lyle
It’s possible that some of Louisiana’s more interesting attractions are born of unlikely pairings. The Shrimp & Petroleum festival in Morgan City or the Bonnie & Clyde’s Ambush Museum in Gibsland, to name a few.
ART-ini was created of a similar spirit through the combination of art and martinis. The fourth installment of the event will be held on Thursday, May 21 from 6-9 p.m. at the Renaissance Baton Rouge.
For this one night, local restaurants and bars will have the opportunity to showcase their bartending skills and creativity for a panel of esteemed judges. Limited only by their imaginations, previous year’s entries have incorporated jalapeño, chili, lavender, and mint flavors.
While sampling various martinis, guests will be able to peruse a silent art auction display. Generous artists from all over Louisiana have donated pottery, prints, paintings, woodwork, and jewelry to be included in the sale.
Additional entertainment for the evening will be provided by the energetic quintet, The Tricky Dickies, promising to create a party like atmosphere for all to enjoy. Well known for covering popular hits spanning from CCR to Pat Benatar, they are sure to have everybody on their feet.
The idea for the event first came in 2011 when Karen Kennedy and Sharon Furrate Bailey combined their creative forces to achieve the common goal of putting on a fun event to help raise money for The Arthritis Association of Louisiana. Their first steps were to contact various local restaurants in hopes that they would participate in the event.
“In the beginning we had six to seven participating restaurants and it has grown to 14 restaurants for ART-ini 2015,” said Bailey.
Some of the restaurants that will be contributing their novel martinis and appetizers this year include Bistro Byronz, Doe’s eat Place, Galatoire’s, Mansur’s on the Boulevard, City Pork, Lucy’s, Ruffino’s, Tallulah, Stroube’s, Capital City Grill, Beausoleil, Nino’s, and Portobello’s.
At the night’s culmination the judges will award the accolade of Best ART-ini Martini to the most savored drink of the bunch. A People’s Choice award will also be handed out based on the amount of monetary donations received by charitable guests.
“The People’s Choice winner goes to the restaurant that raises the most funds at their station,” added Bailey. “So, patrons of the participating restaurants need to attend and support their restaurant of choice.”
Attendees can come donned in jeans and a t-shirt or their fanciest of getups; it’s entirely the choice of the individual. Part of the event’s allure is that you can come and go as you wish. Some stay for an hour, while others don’t leave until the doors close.
There is still a need for additional art donations, which will be kindly rewarded with free attendance to the event. These can be organized by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individual tickets will be available for $50.00 at the door or $40.00 in advance on their website, artinibr.org. All the proceeds from the night will benefit the Baton Rouge Symphony, ensuring that each dollar spent will help keep a little more of Baton Rouge’s culture alive.