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Exclusive Geneva fundraiser combines art with food and wine

Eat Your Art Out! replaces Dancing with the Geneva Stars

Published: Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – The Geneva Cultural Arts Commission has created a new gala fundraising event called Eat Your Art Out! to replace its popular Dancing with the Geneva Stars, which has ended its run after five years.

The new event will be an exclusive dinner that pairs art with food and wine from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Herrington Inn and Spa, 15 N. River Lane, Geneva.

Event chairwoman Alexia Monaco said tickets are $100 apiece, and only 150 will be sold.

“It’s a very exclusive event,” Monaco said. “It’s a very special experience and very, very different in being our gala fundraiser. The event concept and target audience and all details are very, very different. It’s a different level of support and investment in the community.”

Monaco said the event is planned as an elegant evening with a sit-down formal dinner of three savory courses and one dessert with three wine pairings.

What will set this event apart from other formal fundraisers is the way the arts will give Herrington Executive Chef Jason Tsoris inspiration to create culinary masterpieces inspired by local art.

“It will be a unique feast of masterpieces for the eyes, mouth and soul,” Monaco said. “The chef will be building a menu based on his inspiration that he derives from these pieces of art.”

Five local artists’ work will serve as this inspiration, she said. Len Bielefeldt, of the Art Box on Third Street, and Jan Schmuckal, who owns Gallery 28 on Fourth Street – also a commissioner – will provide paintings.

Larry Johnson of L.K. Johnson Studio on Stevens Street will provide a bronze sculpture. And Don and Ellen Ljung of Donellen Designs in Blackberry Township will provide a glass fusion piece.

The fundraising goal is $5,000, she said, which is to support the cultural arts commission’s annual events, such as the Geneva Film Festival, Shakespeare in the Park, Steeple Walk, the Art Guild Studio Tour and Party. The commission does not receive any tax support for these events and relies on donations and fundraisers.

The evening will include live music by a harpist and flutist, a silent auction and a live auction of the inspired art pieces with Mayor Kevin Burns ad the auctioneer.

The silent auction will continue during a cocktail hour from 6 to 7 p.m., with dinner starting at 7 p.m. Monaco said.

“It’s going to be very fun. It’s going to be very stimulating,” Monaco said. I anticipate a lot of enjoyment. We really want everybody to awaken all their senses.”

Tickets are available online at www.genevarts.org, by calling 630-938-4530 or by sending a check to the Geneva Cultural Arts Commission at P.O. Box 537, Geneva, IL 60134.

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