Artistic social scene

2012-09-28T12:15:00Z Artistic social sceneBy Canda Fuqua, The Entertainer Corvallis Gazette Times
September 28, 2012 12:15 pm  • 

The Maker’s Space hosts the monthly Drink & Draw, a social hour of beverages and art

A vegan cupcake baker, a used book salesperson and an oil painting artist walk into a bar… Well, not actually a bar.

Though the trio and other friends, acquaintances and strangers may imbibe a glass of wine or a bottled brew, this room is the Maker’s Space and this monthly gathering – the Drink and Draw.

“You get people from all (artistic) levels and it feels really comfortable,” explains Josephine Zarkovich. “It’s sort of a community environment; it’s really a social scene more than anything else.”

Curator of Maker’s Space, the Majestic Theatre’s storefront gallery, Zarkovich adopted Drink and Draw last December from a similar artists’ gathering in Oakland, Calif.

The first Wednesday of each month, the window-lined room on Southwest Second Street is taken over by tables stocked with pastels, colored pencils, markers, crayons and various types of paper.

The scene (minus the booze) resembles an elementary school art classroom, but the participants in this free, all-ages phenomenon are decidedly more sophisticated than grade-schoolers.

“It’s a huge demographic,” Zarkovich says. “You get business people, you get people involved with the Arts Center … We have reduced-aid housing next door, we get people from there.”

David Huff, director of the Arts Center and Zarkovich’s husband, plays volunteer bartender. Mike Wiener, owner of arts supply store Drawing Board, shamelessly promotes the event and provides art material free of charge.

Each Drink and Draw carries a different flavor. This month, 15 or so people casually doodle as they sip a beverage and chat with a neighbor on subjects like vegan restaurants and taste in music.

With the return of college students, next week’s October Drink and Draw is not expected to be as intimate.

“This is probably our mellowest,” Zarkovich says, “and then next month will be crazy because the students come back, and we flyer really hard.”

The event has seen up to 70 participants in one evening, with tables spilling out into the Majestic Theatre lobby.

You may see college students, armed with sketchpads, working on their homework, or professional artists creating in other mediums. The artistically-inclined may appear to be doodling until they turn in their finished product.

But there is also a cross-section of participants who don’t consider themselves artists, but come for the social scene.

Such is the case for Cheyne Willems and his wife, Sha Willems, a volunteer at the Arts Center.

“I’m better at cupcakes than I am at drawing,” Cheyne Willems says.

He bakes two dozen cupcakes for each Drink and Draw, with donations for the savory treats benefiting Maker’s Space. September’s summertime selection – coconut lime and pineapple right-side up – will contrast with October’s autumn-themed flavors, he says, perhaps a sweet potato or squash variety.

It’s nice to use the space for art, Zarkovich says, but there are other purposes for Drink and Draw.

“I think it’s a great dating space. It’s way better than a bar, but you can still have a drink,” she says. “It’s like bright lights and an activity, but you get a little closer than in a movie and you’re talking … And you can meet nice people here, too.”

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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