When it comes to ARTMIX, the Bakersfield Museum of Art’s curated cocktail party, the goal is to always go a bit bigger.
“What we try to do is just really expand on the most popular aspects of the event overall,” said Amy Smith, the museum’s executive director. “So we always want to reach even further, with even better restaurants, even more art for the art off-the-wall sale and even more silent auction art pieces that really are part of the legacy of artists that we’ve had here.”
The annual event held in the museum’s sculpture garden offers guests a chance to sample small bites and cocktails from local restaurants and view artwork from local and regional creators that is available to buy and take home that night.
Around 120 artists will have work included in the off-the-wall sale, with pieces priced at $200, $400 or $600. Artists who are museum members could submit up to three works for the sale so some will have more pieces up for grabs.
Some participants include Laura Mizrahi, Marjorie Dow, Felix Adamo, Reema Hammad, Inga Astakhova, Beth Chaney, Brendan Thompson, Deidre Hathor, Omar Sanchez, Laura Best, Vicki Meadows and Kevin Valentine.
Victor Gonzales, curator of collections and exhibitions, said the mix of artists includes returning participants as well as younger creators who recently learned about the event. Having been part of the team receiving ARTMIX works each year, he was happy to see a fresh slate of paintings, photos and other two-dimensional works.
“This year, everything looked relatively new,” he said. “I did not recognize anything, actually. ... I was very impressed by that. Everyone really decided to create something new for this.”
Gonzales also anticipates there are many works that will quickly catch the eye of art collectors.
“I have been impressed by the amount of work and the quality of work that has come in for this event,” he said. “So my excitement is just really getting it up and for everyone to see immediately. There are some items you can immediately look at and be, like, ‘I can see that already being someone’s purchase.’ And I can’t wait for someone to see that piece and want to own it for their own home.”
For those with deeper pockets, a silent auction will be held for larger pieces that go beyond the sale’s price limits.
“We have a really nice selection of artists that have either exhibited here or are, as we call them, very good friends — not that all artists are very good friends, but those in particular that have a legacy with us,” Smith said of those who contributed to the auction.
Those with pieces in the auction include Art Sherwyn, Prapat Sirinavarat, Vikki Cruz, Yvonne Cavanagh, Sydney Croskery and Rotem Reshef. Croskery and Reshef both have work in current museum exhibitions — Croskery in “Of Rope And Chain Her Bones Are Made” and Reshef in her solo show “Vista” — but their pieces for the auction allow them to showcase another facet of their work.
Even if your budget doesn’t allow you to build or expand your art collection, the event will offer delights courtesy of its 10 restaurants and food and beverage providers.
In some cases, these are returning vendors such as Nuestro Mexico, which will serve taquitos de cilantro and a vodka drink; The Kitchen, which will offer a Japanese-inspired dish from chef Richard Yoshimura; and Locale Farm to Table, which will serve a champagne spritzer and curry frites.
Joining them will be fresh faces such as Flame & Fire Brazilian Steakhouse, new downtown spot Mango Haus and El Puesto Cocina & Lounge, a local chain’s third location that just opened on White Lane.
Offering additional beverages will be Montoya Vineyards and Voktail, the locally operated canned vodka cocktail company.
Attendees of the benefactor reception, which begins an hour and a half before the main event, will enjoy a champagne welcome beverage from Campo Bar + Bottle and passed appetizers from Bord A Petite, which will be served by the museum’s ArtWorks students. A jazz trio, consisting of professional jazz musician Steve Eisen, Michael Reyes and Paul Cierley, guitar instructor at Bakersfield College, will perform during the reception.
Taking over at 7 p.m. will be DJ Chuck 1 and DJ Cat, who will keep the party going with a mix of tunes.
There will also be an opportunity drawing held during the event.
One lucky person will win a private tour and catered brunch at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Ablin House, built in 1956 in northeast Bakersfield.
The house, which is not viewable from the street, is the only home in Bakersfield designed by the famed architect and is only open to the public during special events.
The winner and up to five guests will enjoy an elegant catered brunch and private tour, learning how the Ablin family persuaded Wright to design and build the distinctive home.
You don’t need to attend the event to enter the drawing. Tickets ($100) are available in advance by calling the museum (661-323-7219) or contacting a museum board member. Additional tickets will also be available at the event while supplies last, and the drawing will be held at the end of the evening. The winner does not need to be present to win.
Proceeds from the drawing benefit the BMoA Fund, which supports all areas of the museum including preservation of the BMoA Permanent Collection and visiting exhibitions as well as youth art education and outreach. The museum team is looking forward to an evening where artists, collectors and party goers can mingle and enjoy a spring outing.
“It’s an opportunity to showcase this beautiful sculpture garden that we have, and to have 400 people celebrating the visual arts back there,” Smith said. “It’s being able to be with like-minded visual arts supporters that want to, you know, be a part of something special here at the museum. ... I’ve already forecast fabulous weather and great food and drinks and friends and art that you can buy — what else would you want?”