Party Richmond packs the Art Center for festive fundraising

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By Zach Chouteau

One of the city’s most vital venues was at its festive best on Saturday night, as hundreds of art lovers filled the Richmond Art Center (RAC) for an awards and fundraising shindig known as Party Richmond.

A talented mariachi band set the tone as hundreds of attendees arrived for the lively soiree, which began with a regal reception that sprawled throughout the RAC. A major highlight was the ample food and drink offerings around every corner, free with the ticket fee, which included a tasty Vienna Lager on tap from Benoit Casper brewing, delicious spring rolls from Huong Tra and a mouthwatering desert platter from El Sol. Other highlights were special cocktails from St. George Spirits (in Alameda) and actual silk-screened souvenir tortillas, with chocolate serving as the ‘ink.’

Also adding to the evening were experienced RAC instructors in various studios demonstrating some of the artistic skills you can learn at the venue—including painting, ceramics and weaving.

Following the reception, RAC Executive Director Ric Ambrose took to a podium for the presentation of the annual Guillermo Awards, named for the iconic and colorful fish statue festooned high on the venue’s exterior. This year’s recipients included Eddie and Yoshimi Downer, longtime supporters of the RAC; John Toki, a teacher, member and volunteer since the 1980s; and the City of Richmond, which has hosted the venue at Civic Center Plaza since 1951 and provided other crucial support as well. Mayor Tom Butt and City Manager Bill Lindsay were both on hand at Saturday’s party, with Lindsay—retiring at the end of July—recognized by the RAC for his years of service.

The proceedings then featured a live auction raising funds for the RAC through some exceptional artwork as well as extraordinary experiences, including a getaway to Santa Fe and a fishing trip on the Feather River. And the enchanted evening wrapped up with attendees dancing the night away to DJ tunes from Vanessa ‘Agana’ Espinosa.

The RAC is located at 2540 Barrett Avenue, and open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with no admission fee for their galleries. You can find out more at www.richmondartcenter.org.

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