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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

2012: Festival - Entertainment - Map - How to Enter - Judge - Awards - Sponsors - Quilt Raffle - Volunteers - Program

For tickets,
call Gualala
Arts Center

Art in the Redwoods Festival
Top Hat Dinner (2012)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Doors open at 6:00 p.m.
Dinner served 7:00 p.m.

Art in the Redwoods Festival logo

Art in the Redwoods Top Hat Dinner, Bob & Roxanne Claflin and David The "Top Hat" opening dinner & wine celebration at the Gualala Arts Center starts at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday evening when the doors open. Diners will get a sneak peek preview of the Fine Art Exhibit and, new this year, diners will have the first opportunity to purchase art before it is judged.

The Chef for this evening extravaganza will be Executive Chef Phillip M. Kaufman from the Black Point Grill at Sea Ranch Lodge. He will be bringing to us his renowned and extensive professional background. Phil received his degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Jeff Cox of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat describes "Kaufman's art extends past the careful way he infuses everything with rich flavors to include crisp, pretty presentations."

Executive Chef Phillip M. Kaufman Phil has opened and served as Executive Chef for Hush Restaurant in Laguna Beach, where he earned four stars and was named one of Orange County's Top 20 Chefs. In the Bay Area, he worked in notable establishments such as Gramercy Grill on Nob Hill in San Francisco, and Evvia Estiatorio and Restaurant Soleil in Palo Alto.

The Top Hat Dinner menu will include: Hors d'Oeuvres of Smoked Salmon and Crepe Pinwheels and Lemon Crème Fraiche "Squeeze." Amuse will include Spiced Lamb Sausage, Smoked Tomato Puree and Tzatziki Sauce. The first course includes Heirloom Tomato Salad, Pazzo Marco Basil Balsamic Sorbet, and Mendocino Sea Salt. Second course, Braised Lamb Shank, Herb Spaetzle with Dried Figs and Gremolata or Roasted Stuffed Pepper, Roasted Tomato Broth. Ending with a third course of Poached Pear Melba, Pear Broth, Pazzo Marco Pear Gelato, Raspberry Coulis and Passion Fruit Truffle.

Only 100 tickets, which include a VIP Festival pass, are available for this evening of evenings. Reservations for dinner ($150, includes $100 donation) are recommended as it usually sells out.

By attending the Top Hat Dinner you also receive a VIP Festival pass. Included in the VIP Festival Pass is the Friday, August 17, Champagne Preview from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with award presentations and the judge's critiques. The fine art exhibit will be available for viewing and an opportunity to purchase when doors open to the gallery at 4:30 p.m.

The heart of the festival is the magnificent exhibit of fine art throughout the building, including oil paintings, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, drawings, photographs, sculpture, woodworking, stained and fused glass, jewelry and fiber arts - most of them for sale. The Top Hat VIP Pass also includes admission on Saturday and Sunday August 18 - 19.

Top Hat Honorees

This year's Top Hat dinner that kicks off Art in the Redwoods will honor and celebrate one of the Arts Center's most vibrant groups, the Pacific Piecemakers Quilt Guild, an organization of 110 members in its 17th year of existence that quietly embodies so many of the values behind the success of Gualala Arts.

Executive Director "Sus" Susalla feels this year's honorees are most deserving because,

"The group epitomizes the volunteer, artistic and patron spirit that drives Gualala Arts. Not only do they meet every challenge - such as the elevator project, but they exceed expectations and give back so much more than they receive. They are an exemplary model of our many interest groups."

Art in the Redwoods Raffle Quilt
Art in the Redwoods
2012 Raffle Quilt

The Guild does foster the traditional art of making quilts, but it does so much more. For example, their $10,000 donation launched the successful recent fundraiser to install an elevator at the Arts Center. They also obtained much needed shades for the auditorium windows for light control conditions. Quilters' fundraising efforts go back to the earliest days of Art in the Redwoods and continue with the annual quilt raffle at Art in the Redwoods to fund the Gualala Arts Young Artist Scholarship program.

Two other projects embody their service to both community and country. The Piecemakers participate in the Quilts of Valor Foundation program to honor wounded vets. The Guild has contributed over 100 quilts in the last four years to convalescing service personnel at the VA hospital in Palo Alto.

Closer to home, the Comfort Quilt project provides quilts for members of the South Coast community who could be helped by some special attention. One example is the donation of baby quilts to the New Born Project in Fort Bragg. Piecemakers sponsors two workshops a year devoted to each of these programs.

Although quilting goes back to the earliest settlers, the Pacific Piecemakers Quilt Guild formation and affiliation with Gualala Arts formally began in the 1990s. Besides the noteworthy activities already mentioned, they hold monthly meetings and an annual retreat, sponsor lectures and workshops by quilting experts, print the "Bits and Pieces" newsletter, and have social events.

Anyone is welcome to join the Pacific Piecemakers Quilt Guild for $40 a year. Currently, members from as far away as Folsom and Oakland belong. Membership entitles one to attend the regular meetings on the third Friday of each month, to receive discounts for all the workshops and annual retreat, and to hone quilting skills in a supportive environment. More importantly, new members join a group dedicated to helping others while pursuing a time honored creative craft. More information can be found on the Guild's website -

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.