Thursday, August 4, 2011


Art and wine. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

The folks at the First Friday Art Walk think so too. To spice up this month's midsummer edition of the popular event (taking place this Friday, August 5), FFAW joins forces with a slate of some 20 Santa Cruz vintners to present the August Wine Walk, where art patrons will be able to sample local wines at select FFAW venues around town.

Here's how the Wine Walk works. Participants purchase a $20 ticket in advance (online at First Friday Santa Cruz or in person at the Museum of Art and History), to be redeemed on the day of the event for a commemorative wine glass and wristband. Beginning at 4:30 p.m., Friday, ticket holders come to Abbott Square, next to the MAH, to pick up their wine glasses and wristbands, along with a list of participating Wine Walk locations, before heading out on their own personal art and wine adventure. (For Westsiders, a pick-up station for glasses and wristbands will also be set up at the R. Blitzer Gallery in the old Wrigley Building.) Tickets may also be purchased for $25 on the day of the event—while they last—but patrons are encouraged to buy theirs early, and avoid the, er, crush. A portion of ticket proceeds will benefit the MAH.

As usual, you'll find work by local artists (painting, sculpture, photography, fabric, ceramics, woodworking), in a staggering variety of venues countywide—cafes, beauty salons, banks, shops and boutiques, from the Eastside to the Westside, Louden Nelson Center to Squid Row Alley, Pleasure Point to Davenport. Designated art galleries, like the Santa Cruz Art League, Felix Kulpa, Michaelangelo, Artisans, and the MAH also participate in the festivities. All venues are open to the public from 5 to 9 p.m., and admission to the Art Walk venues, as always, is free. (Read more)

And while you're down there, picking up your commemorative wine glass this First Friday, don't forget to step inside the MAH to see what's new. Incoming director Nina Simon is committed to turning the space into a cultural hub and destination in downtown Santa Cruz. In addition to three new shows on view in the museum's galleries, the MAH is also playing host to the finished, 30-minute pilot episode of "Junk Art Scramble" (playing in one of the ground-floor committee rooms), and to chalk muralist Shirley Lehner-Rhoades, whose Italian Renaissance-inspired Madonna and Child has been chalked onto a 6x8-foot square of the concrete atrium floor. (It will vanish like Brigadoon after Friday, so don't miss it!)

Also new at the MAH are interactive elements designed into each of the gallery exhibits that invite patrons to create their own furniture designs (in the Furniture Design exhibit on the third floor), play the "Name that wood" game in the Santa Cruz Woodworkers show in the Solari Gallery, and share your favorite recipes (and/or your most hated foods) at the "Foodies In Exile" painting exhibit on the first floor.

It's all part of Simon's campaign to remake the MAH into a fun, vibrant community center. Drop in and let her know what you think!

(Above: Heather Young invites you to sample art and wine at Art du Jour (1013 Cedar Street), downtown, at the First Friday Art and Wine Walk.)

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