The Visual Arts Center of Richmond took a sly look back at the past for its 26th annual Collectors Night on March 31. Guests were encouraged to wear retro fancy-dress; cocktail meatballs and deviled eggs were served; and a photo booth documented the affair while drinks were shaken with vigor. The ultra-sweet signature cocktail, "The Visartini," was an unusual combination of Cirrus vodka, lemon juice, Aperol, Cointreau and orange marmalade created especially for the event.
Maggi Tinsley, marketing coordinator of the Visual Arts Center, says, "The idea [for the theme of the event] started with the notion of the Visartini [drink] itself, which led us to the classic cocktail era. ... The evening's format was a little different than in recent years, so we highlighted the new ‘cocktail-hour' portion of the evening."
Attendance topped 225, and more than 50 paintings, prints, ceramics, glassware, jewelry, trips and dinners were auctioned. "VisArts raised almost $100,000 during this event," says Ava Spece, the new director of the Visual Arts Center.
In a packed tent erected behind the VisArts building, guests bid enthusiastically, and, Spece says, "The most exuberant bidding came for one of our experience packages." Titled "Savor the Flavor," it included dinner prepared by a professional chef and a guided tour of the artwork in the donor's home.
Richmond artist Diego Sanchez was awarded the Distinguished Service Award at the event. "He is one of our greatest champions," says Spece. Lisa Fisher Johnson won the Shelly Bechtel Shepherd Master Teacher Award.
"This Collectors Night was definitely the biggest success of the six I've attended," says Tinsley. "Being in our fun, funky spaces reminds guests what they are supporting with their presence and their bids."