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Pork skins hanging from the “sky” This was part of the scene at the annual Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC) fundraiser ‘Starving Artists’ which took place June 21. The event, co-chaired by Leslie Prizant Goodman and Olga Markoff with host committee that included Todd Kempton raised more than $83,000 to support CAC’s unique programming, which strives to build a sustainable marketplace for local artists by providing them with educational resources, exhibition opportunities and entrepreneurial networks.
The rainy day didn’t damper the fun or guest turnout, as about 300 people whet their creative appetites with “imaginative fare and whimsical, edible installations” to celebrate CAC’s s 40th anniversary. The four unique, multiple sensory environments that meshed culinary and visual arts by pairing visual artists Diana Gabriel, Luftwerk, Alexandra Noe and Edyta Stepien with Chefs Matthias Merges (Yusho), Chris Pandel (Bristol/Balena), Kyle Peterson (Fulton Market Kitchen) and Jared Van Camp (Element Collective).
“We are thrilled by the continued enthusiasm and support for the fourth annual Starving Artist,” said CAC Interim Executive Director Sara Slawnik. “This annual fundraiser has proven itself as a unique art party, combining creatives working in very different disciplines to reflect CAC’s cross-disciplinary mission.”
Guests in attendance included CAC Board Chairman and EXPO CHICAGO President/Director Tony Karman, former CAC President and current United States Artists CEO Carolina Garcia Jayaram, photographer Susan Aurinko, Christie’s Senior Vice President/Midwest Managing Director Lisa Cavanaugh, Gensler Design Director Todd Heiser, Music Box Theatre Owner William Schopf, Consultant Joel Straus, and Karim Ahamed, Trevian Kuti, Nancy Herring, Carmelita Tiu, Steven Collens, Katharine Schutta and Jeffrey Shapack to name a few.
Guests were greeted with a welcome custom-made craft cocktails made with Hennessey VS by Revae Schneider of Femme Du Coupe before entering into Alexandra Noe’s “living room” hive lounge. Jason Brown of Kinmon’s drinks were accented with complete with floating laser-cut bees, pollen sculptures and hexagonal serving platters that held honey and ricotta beignets, green tea and sesame macaroons with honey-cured wild salmon created by Chef Jared Van Camp of Element Collective.
Artist Diana Gabriel’s striking red and orange string installation was accented by Colombian food, including goats milk cheese, puffed coconut rice and crispy stuffed plantains by Chef Chris Pandel of Bristol and Balena, alongside cocktails by Jason Ackerman of Bristol and gin-infused coffee from Intelligentsia. White paper blossoms by artist Edyta Stepien in the adjoining gallery space covered the walls like points on a map, complemented by Fulton Market Kitchen’s bay scallop ceviche and seaweed salad and their Boston Club Punch that was dangerously delicious.
Artist collaborative Luftwerk filled the lower level of CAC with a moving light installation that bounced through a presentation of tequila cocktails by Billy Sunday mixologist Alexander Bachman and a curtain of pig skins, created by Yusho Chef Matthias Merges. Chef Merges also served a “fried gnudi appetizer across an artful table of arugula pesto, pepperoncini and Calabrian Chili, that resulted in an aftermath of smeared sauces resembling an abstract painting.” it was sooo good.
Can’t have savory without the sweet, enter CAC’s Sweet Shop which allowed guests to take treats home, including Das Caramels, Gary Poppins Popcorn, Tate’s Cookies, Vosges Haut-Chocolat and artist-made fortune cookies.
*image credit: Photos by Claire Demos
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