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Q and A Upscale art, wine event raises money for youth

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Posted: Friday, October 14, 2011 7:34 am

Featuring dozens of Lodi-area winemakers and  artists, Artisan Masters, in its second year, is one of the biggest fundraisers for local arts education. Lodi Arts Foundation chair Ros Bollinger is leading the Oct. 22 black-tie event. Here, she talks about the purpose of the event and what you can expect when you attend.

Q: What is the purpose of Artisan Masters?

A: Artisan Masters is a fundraiser to provide scholarships and student enrichment programs to underserved youths in fine art, culinary arts and the study of agriculture and viticulture. The Artisan Masters Wine and Art Auction was established in 2009 by Lodi Arts Foundation in conjunction with Lodi appelation wineries and San Joaquin Delta College’s culinary program. We’ve added another partner this year, also from Delta College, the L.H. Horton Jr. Gallery. 

Q: How would you describe the evening?

A: It is a black-tie affair. It’s a very elegant, yet not stuffy, event. It was kind of interesting last year ... most of the winery hosts wore tuxedos. I think everyone really enjoyed the opportunity to dress up.

The event starts with a reception, silent auction and barrel tasting. There are about 15 wineries hosting their barrels. This year, we expect 275 people. It’s really a winemakers’ dinner, if you will. Each table is hosted by a principal of a local winery. We’re expecting 20 wineries, and Delta College culinary students, led by Chef Mark Berkner, will serve a five-course meal.

Once we conclude with the silent auction, the live auction will be going on during dinner. There will be live background music by a quartet from San Francisco. We’ll end the evening with the band and a cigar and port tent on the patio. It’s quite a full evening.

Q: What are some responses you’ve heard about last year’s Artisan Masters?

A: It was our first year to have the event, and we’ve heard, “It was a 10,” “Hit it out of the ballpark,” “Everything was very well orchestrated.” I think a lot of the people were surprised by the preparation and presentation from student at Delta College.

Q: Why is this considered one of Lodi’s major art events?

A: I think it’s a little different for Lodi. If you look at every other wine country (town), they have an annual fundraiser that typically features art and wine. Lodi didn’t have one. We’re sort of filling that niche. Of course, we hope to raise a lot of money that will make a difference in the life of a child. We also have a greater vision that this type of event has capabilities to bring outside people into experience what we have to offer here in Lodi. 

Q: How much money was raised last year? What do you expect this year?

A: We raised about $24,000 last year. Part went to the Lodi Arts Foundation for scholarships, some went to fund Excellence in Agriculture scholarships and then a third went to Delta College culinary program.

Q: Which local artists will be represented?

A: We have eight artists from the area. Most are from Lodi, Stockton. Greater Lodi area, if you will.

Q: What made you want to get involved with this event?

A: I had worked all of my life until I moved to Lodi ... I was sort of a duck out of water for a while. Deanie Bridewell got me interested in volunteering.

Now I am chair of the Lodi Arts Foundation, and this will be my second year as chair of the Artisan Masters event.

Q: What is the biggest challenge of running this large event?

A: There are a lot of moving parts, especially since we added a full weekend for media. We had a number of terrific volunteers on our planning (committee), but it’s never enough.

Contact Lodi Living editor Lauren Nelson at laurenn@lodinews.com.

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