Sunday, February 22, 2009

FEAST: creating community one mouthful after another.


(photo by Dan)

I was honored to attend the inaugural dinner event for FEAST (Funding Emerging Art with Sustainable Tactics) in Greenpoint, Brooklyn yesterday.

From the website:

FEAST is a recurring public dinner designed to use community-driven financial support to democratically fund new and emerging artmakers.

At each FEAST, participants will pay a sliding-scale entrance fee for which they will receive supper and a ballot. Diners will vote on a variety of proposed artist projects. At the end of dinner, the artist whose proposal receives the most votes will be awarded funds collected through the entrance fee to produce the project. The work will then be presented during the next FEAST.


I had little idea what to expect from the night, despite having attended a planning meeting for the thing, but it wowed me in every way. Soup to nuts, as it were.

Not only that, but Dan was the recipient of the grant awarded after the votes were counted. I was almost sorry that he won, in a weird way, because so many of the proposals were endearing and interesting, and all of the artists were "worthy" of funding. I wanted someone rich to stand up, doff his (or her) top hat, and promise on his or her personal fortune to become the new FEAST patron, proclaiming that everyone there would get several hundred dollars to make his or her artistic dreams come true. My "I have a rich patron" fantasy continues...

Seriously, though, it felt empowering to fund art in this way. The money I gave at the door, along with my participation in the event, made me patron in a personal and communal way, which made it mean so much more than simply witnessing a gift or grant.

I was told that over 80 people attended the FEAST feast, perusing proposals, enjoying the company and the food, and literally and figuratively breaking bread together by candlelight while the band played on.



(photo by Dan)


So how were the eats? Oh, boy. My friends at One & Supp coordinated the terrific menu. The Tuscan bean soup was transcendent (the PERFECT amount of salt!), filling, and plentiful. Roasted vegetables, pasta salad, and bread were also on hand (almost everything was vegan), and a number of us brought dessert. Molly's apple and raspberry pie was great, with a lovely buttery crust. I made apple crisp with crystallized ginger and walnuts, the topping modified from an Alice Waters recipe, and was happy with how it turned out. Next time, though, more ginger!

I could go on. It really was a sweet event, in so many ways. For now, though, I'll end this post by saying I hope if you're in the area I'll see you at the next FEAST!

9 comments:

kellyr said...

Three cheers for FEAST! And this is just the beginning. I am excited to see how FEAST evolves into a powerful art force/eatery. Congratulations to Dan. I am so happy and proud of our neighborhood friends. Excellent deserts ( I loved the chocolate cake with coffee buttercream frosting! ) wow.

Jennette said...

Yeah!

I was trying to be "fair" about my consumption and not try all the desserts, but now I'm sad I missed that cake. :) Sounds great.

mechanic said...

I want to come to the next one, this sound like such a fabulous idea!

mechanic said...

and congrats Dan!

David Michael said...

Excellent Post Jennette! I still can't believe how well it all came together! Thanks so much for all your help!

Lets keep FEASTING and congrats to Dan!

Liza Jane said...

What a fun room to play in! Thanks for the link and hope to break bread again soon! Cheers, OLJ

jenny gordy said...

that sounds awesome. congrats to dan.

i'm excited about moving back too! i really want to go to your church some more and also do some knitting together! yay!

Jennette said...

DM and LJ - you two were stars!

JG - thanks! Just think, in the summer you can come to a FEAST yourself. Or enter a proposal for a grant!

Jennette said...

Steph - the next one's in April! Plan to come!

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