Raise your glass

Looking for an evening of fine dining, culture, art, and elegant wine?  Paint the Town – WineFest 2011, the Ann Arbor Art Center’s largest fundraiser of the year, is just the thing.  Going into its 29th year, Paint the Town is an opportunity for those appreciative of the arts to enjoy an evening of excellent food, superb wine, and eclectic experiences, all the while supporting one of the largest contributors to the Ann Arbor art community. 

The evening will unfold on Saturday, May 7 as a two part event.  Beginning at 5pm, Premiere Patrons will enjoy a four-course tasting menu created by Chef Jim Leonardo of Ann Arbor’s very own Vinology Wine Bar and Restaurant.  The meal will be paired with Classic Wine selections courtesy of Chef Leonardo’s colleague at Vinology, John Jonna, who will be on hand to discuss the delicate pairings of food and drink.  An exclusive live auction will accompany dinner.  Tickets for the Premiere Event are $200 ($135 is tax deductible).

Paint the Town’s Main Event will begin at 7pm with a dazzling strolling supper featuring dishes from The Common Grill, Grange Kitchen and Bar, and Terry B’s Restaurant and Bar.  A wine tasting of numerous fantastic wines will supplement the supper, as will a beer tasting of vintage ales from Chicago’s Goose Island Brewing Company.  A dessert experience with coffee will follow at 10pm put on by Mighty Good Coffee, Zingerman’s Bakehouse, the Earle Restaurant, and Schakolad.  Throughout the night, guests will be entertained by Random Acts of Culture, which will include live performances by local musicians and dancers.  Tickets to the Main Event only are $100 ($75 tax deductible).

Several live and silent auctions for artwork, bottles of wine, and “experience packages” will mark the evening.  Some of these experiences include getaway packages, a chance to design and name a sandwich at Zingerman’s, a full week stay at Bellanina Spa’s Mountain Retreat in North Carolina, and a guided tour of Ann Arbor’s Fairy Doors, a secretive route of miniscule doors throughout downtown, led by their creator, Jonathan Wright.

Support for the arts

“Historically, when we started Paint the Town almost thirty years ago, no one in the area had done anything like this,” says Samantha Solis, the Ann Arbor Art Center’s Special Events Manager. “We had a great audience that was receptive, and the event stuck.  Today, it is our largest fundraiser.  We’re very grateful for strong community support year after year.  This event helps us put on 250 art courses every year and provide galleries and exhibition space for Michigan artists to demonstrate their passion.  We also maintain work spaces and equipment that area artists otherwise might not have access to like watercolor and ceramic studios.  These spaces are open to skilled artists within the community.  Finally, every summer we put on Creativity Camp which reaches more than 1,000 children.  This event helps the Ann Arbor Art Center continue to be this area’s epicenter for creativity and artistic growth.”

Veterans of Paint the Town will notice a few changes this year, including the event’s venue.  “Traditionally, we hold Paint the Town in a hotel, but we wanted to be untraditional this year by having it at Warehouse 345,” says Solis. “We support creativity in the community and wanted to reflect a creative focus.  We’ve also added the Goose Island ale tasting, something new and eclectic which I hope people will enjoy.  We’re excited for the community to experience this year’s Paint the Town.”

Warehouse 345 is located at 345 Metty Dr., Ann Arbor.  To purchase tickets, visit www.annarborartfest.org/winefest or call 734-994-8004 x 120.  The Ann Arbor Art Center is located at 117 W. Liberty St., Ann Arbor.  Open Mon-Thurs and Sat 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-9pm, Sun 12pm-5:30pm.

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