News Column

Enjoy an ale and support local arts

May 23, 2014

By Shea Conner, St. Joseph News-Press, Mo.



May 23--If you think about it, brewing a craft beer isn't all that different from writing a remarkable song, painting a vivid portrait or even building a beautiful home. They all require the proper set of tools, a generous amount of creativity and a whole lot of patience, thought and passion.

So, it's only natural that an event would celebrate every single one of these projects of love and ingenuity.

The Allied Arts Council will host the second annual Beer Walk for the Arts from 2 to 6 p.m.May 31 at the Museum Hill Historic District of St. Joseph. Throughout the afternoon, guests will venture from historic home to historic home while sampling craft beers paired with foods prepared by some of St. Joseph's top chefs. Local music acts will perform at each stop along the way.

For example, those who visit the Brownfield family home (formerly the Jones and Townsend House) will be treated to a Hot Chicken Cake from Alice Jean's Kitchen. It will be paired with New Belgium Trippel, a Belgian style ale that's spiced with coriander and boasts a bold blast of hops, as well as O'Fallon Kite Tail, a cream-style summer ale modeled after crisp, light lagers.

While guests snack and sip at that stop, they'll enjoy the musical stylings of pianists Sharon Gray, Nathanael May and Michelle Rautmann. Gray is a retired director of vocal studies at Missouri Western and administrator of the St. Joseph Community Chorus. Rautmann is an accomplished piano teacher at Benedictine College with a master's degree in music from the University of Wisconsin. She was a winner in the Beethoven Piano Competition and is an active member of the Missouri Music Teachers Association and the National Guild of Piano Teachers. May, who has won numerous awards and grants, holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Kansas and serves as an assistant professor of piano and pedagogy at Missouri Western State University.

The event was a big hit last year, says Allied Arts Council executive director Teresa Fankhauser. The Allied Arts Council allotted 150 tickets for the Beer Walk and sold every one of them. This year, the organization has increased the allotment to 200.

Not only did those who participated last summer enjoy the beers, the local music and the historic homes, they also raved about the relaxed, laid-back atmosphere of the 12-block walk.

"It was such a delightful experience for everyone involved. The homeowners enjoyed it. The bands had a good time. It's a pretty low-key, low-stress event," Fankhauser says. "... You tour the home, you taste the beers, you have a little bite and you listen to the music. Some people found a home that kind of felt like it was theirs. Others came in and took off. It was very organic."

Other restaurants that will lend their tasty dishes to the Beer Walk include Whiskey Mansion, First Ward House, Spanky & Buckwheat's, Goode Food Delivered, Gyro Paradise, Bad Art Bistro, Bleecker Street Deli Company and the JC Wyatt House. O'Malley's Beverage will serve as the event's beer sponsor, providing craft ales by New Belgium Brewing, Good Island, O'Fallon, Abita and Red Hook.

The rest of the music lineup includes Americana rock band The ReAgents, folk and bluegrass group Under the Big Oak Tree, the newly formed band City Hymn, jazz/world music quartet The Iris Project, guitarists Jason Riley and Gary Scott, Missouri Western student Ben Hardy and the alternative/acoustic act For the Sound.

After visiting all the homes, patrons are encouraged to return to the Wyeth-Tootle Mansion for the final tasting. Once there, the Missouri Valley Impressionist Society will be holding a special plein air painting event and guests also may gaze upon a visual art show organized by Brenda Reilly.

All proceeds from the Beer Walk will benefit the Arts Fund, an annual fundraising campaign in support of seven local arts organizations. The Allied Arts Council, Performing Arts Association, Saint Joseph Symphony, St. Joseph Community Chorus, RiverSong Chorus, Midwest Artist Association and Creative Arts Productions use Arts Fund money for roughly 25 percent of their programming budgets.

As of Wednesday, the Arts Fund had only totaled $136,575, which is more than $60,000 short of the Allied Arts Council's goal of $198,450. The 2013 Arts Fund, which fell short of its own fundraising benchmark, had raised about $3,000 more by this date last year. If the mark isn't met this year, the seven organizations likely will have to make cuts and programming adjustments and set ticket price increases.

"I'm sure a lot of people think, 'my $20 isn't going to affect much' or 'my $100 isn't going to affect much.' But it does because when you get a page full of $20 and $100 donations, it adds up," Fankhauser says.

Through May 26, you can buy a pair of tickets to the Beer Walk for the Arts for $50. Otherwise, the cost is $35 per ticket. Tickets are available at any St. Joseph UMB Bank location, Hy-Vee, the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, the Allied Arts Council or online at www.stjoearts.org/beerwalkforthearts.htm. For additional information about the Arts Fund Drive or related activities, call the Allied Arts office at 233-0231 or visit www.stjoearts.org.

Shea Conner can be reached at shea.conner@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @stjoelivedotcom.

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(c)2014 the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.)

Visit the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.) at www.newspressnow.com/index.html

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Source: St. Joseph News-Press (MO)


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