Live from Art-A-Whirl

Art-A-Whirl, the state’s largest tour of artists studios, began last night and from my studio, which I share with eight other artists in the Northrup King Building–ground zero for AAW–it was an excellent crowd. There were times when I was pressed back into a corner by the sheer number of bodies in the room, and, somewhat to my surprise, given the national state of wallets, a few people even sold things.

Each year, what the crowds are talking about is this: Who has the best food? Who has the best drink? And, oh yeah, who has the best art? I’m happy to say the snack buzz centered around our studio–nine artists, likely the most in one studio there, can put together a decent spread. As for the booze, well, that’s a touchy topic.

Earlier this year, a city employee noticed that sponsors of arts events were serving beer and wine to their guests–as is the tradition at any art opening or crawl you’ve ever been to. And a quick check of ordinances showed this was quite possibly illegal, at least without a temporary wine permit. Which, of course, is prohibitively expensive for the average studio. Councilman Paul Ostrow, who’s been instrumental in setting up the Northeast Arts District where Art-A-Whirl is held, is now looking into whether the rule can be refined to distinguish between an event like Ribfest and what we do in our studios, which is essentially offer some hospitality to our (of-age) visitors, not unlike a party at your place.

Long story short, we’re dry. Though, word is, they got a license over at the Waterbury building and plenty of visitors were buzzing about beer and wine being offered in studios throughout Northrup King anyway. You’ll have to see for yourself.

As for the best art… A lot of people are talking about the graphic artists in the building, the screenprinters, which include Sean Tubridy’s hip wearable designs and the frameable letterpress prints at Angel Bomb Design. And of course, the giant kinetic sculptures of Jack Pavlik are almost a source of mystery (how the hell did he make that? What are the odds it will break free and eat us?) Today’s a cold one, so here’s hoping Twin Citians eschew the dandelion digging for a little artistic inspiration; the dandelions will still be there tomorrow.

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