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Art in the Redwoods Festival
Top Hat Dinner (2014)
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Doors open at 6:00 p.m.
Dinner served 7:00 p.m.
The Top Hat Dinner, the gala evening that annually starts off Gualala Art's signature event, the Art in the Redwoods Festival weekend, will be held on Thursday, August 14, starting at 6:00 p.m.
This special evening of fine food, wine and art was originally held on Friday night for many years, but since 2007 it has moved to Thursday and has become the gala beginning of the annual festival.
Only 100 tickets, are available for this evening of evenings. Reservations for dinner ($150, includes $100 donation) are recommended as it usually sells out.
Top Hat Dinner celebrants will get a sneak peek preview of the Fine Art Exhibit and have the opportunity to purchase art before it is judged, and receive VIP Festival Passes that will admit them to the Friday Champagne Preview and the Festival itself.
Their dinner will feature the amazing and creative North Coast cuisine of St. Orres Restaurant. Gualala Arts thanks St. Orres co-owners Eric Black and Rosemary Campiformio for their generous contribution of all of the food for the 2013 Top Hat Dinner and for preparing and serving last year's feast, and is thrilled to welcome them back again this year.
St. Orres buildings, drawing by Eric Black
"St. Orres has delighted both locals and visitors to the coast for decades with its unique blend of architecture, hospitality and culinary artistry'" notes David 'Sus' Susalla, Executive Director of Gualala Arts. "We are so honored to have the St. Orres team lead the Top Hat Dinner for the second year in a row!"
Top Hat Honorees
Each year Gualala Arts uses the Top Hat Dinner to honor an artist or friend of the arts. In 2007, Duane Gordon was honored; in 2008 it was Dwight Eberly. Elaine Jacob was feted in 2009, in 2010 Bob and Edith Holmes shared the honor, in 2011 Kathy Di Maio and Betty O'Neil were recognized as the two women instrumental in organizing the very first event in 1961. Last year saw Rosemary Campiformio and Eric Black, co-owners of St. Orres Hotel and Restaurant, honored for their long time support of Gualala Arts, and of so many other worthy local organizations on the coast since their opening in 1977.
Honoring Jim Grenwelge
This year the Top Hat Dinner names a very special volunteer as the honoree of the event. David "Sus" Susalla, Gualala Arts Executive Director, says of this year's honoree that "Jim Grenwelge is only one individual, but he serves as a fitting representative for the countless groups of volunteers that make Gualala Arts so special. For the past 53 years individuals like Jim have nurtured the mission statement that art serves the community. The result is not only a highly successful art fair but an organization housed in a lovely facility on beautiful grounds that sponsors events, festivals, classes, exhibits, and performances to enrich the lives of those living on the Mendonoma coast."
Jim is a joiner and part of many teams. He wears an apron in the Culinary Arts Guild and Friends of the Pizza Oven events. He straps on a tool belt with the Tuesday volunteer crew, serves on the Landscape Committee and has helped build the De Prima and Metcalf Terraces on the Arts Center grounds. He has been president of the Board of Directors, Volunteer of the Year in 2006 and has helped hang countless art shows including Art in the Redwoods Fine Art Exhibits for the past 14 years.
Six years ago Jim was one of a group of auto enthusiasts that cooked up the idea for an auto show, a display of "hot cars under the cool redwoods." With typical enthusiasm these car buffs reached out to a special segment of the community and turned the grounds of the Gualala Arts Center into an exhibit of rolling art. Since then the event has grown every year, reaching a special milestone this year with 100 entries - the most ever for an event that promises to be an annual fixture for many years to come, with Jim seemingly everywhere during the event.
Anyone who has helped out at Gualala Arts knows Jim, the one wearing khaki shorts regardless of the weather and a cheerful smile that says, "How can I help?" He is a most fitting person to be honored at this year's event, not just because of his personal contributions but because he is a good example of the many others alongside whom he works with year after year.
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.