At gallery openings it’s common practice to stroll through the room taking in art with a glass of wine in hand. Full House Productions and The EpiCentre have taken that idea to the next level with Sip & Stroll – a two-day wine-tasting and arts event Friday and Saturday. Whether you’re there for the booze, the food, the art, the music or all of the above, there’s plenty to do.
Having grown from an unexpected hit that attracted 1,000 visitors to the EpiCentre during its inaugural event four years ago, Sip & Stroll has expanded this year. It’s partnered with the Arts & Science Council, which receives $1 from every ticket, and the collaborative multidisciplinary studio que-OS. They’ve also incorporated more live music and interactive elements.
“Every year is different,” says Sheila Fletcher of Full House Productions, who puts on Alive After Five. “Sip & Stroll was one of our first big events in the EpiCentre. The crowds have gotten bigger, and throughout a two-day period a couple of thousand people show up every year. This time we’ve added more activity, more artists, more music, and it’s still family-friendly.”
Que-OS adds another element with short “pop-up” performances and will explain exactly what it does during a seminar Saturday.
“They’re very accessible and doing this as part of public events,” says Carmella Jarvi, Sip & Stroll’s curator/artist coordinator.
Their participation also speaks to the variety of arts represented at the four-story downtown nightlife hub.
“You have your more traditional booth set-up with everything from painting to metal sculpture to fun, lighter things like painted wine glasses. It runs the spectrum,” Jarvi says. With artists available for nine hours across two days, there’s plenty of time to chat them up. “At an opening you might get two minutes.”
There’s also a walking tour of public art Saturday and Charlotte acoustic rock staple Simplified will perform on the building’s rooftop Friday during the kickoff party. The wine samplings and artists’ booths open at 2 p.m. Saturday, with music from Crashbox and country band Early Ray. You’ll find everything from painting and photography to functional leather, jewelry and pottery.
It’s not all high-end art and pricey wine. Part of the appeal is art and wine for a variety of tastes and incomes, as well as ways to delve more deeply into the tasting and local art aspects of the event. Participants can create original art on canvas or wine bottles during Saturday classes. On the wine side, master sommelier Joe Spellman of Justin Vineyards will hold a blending seminar Saturday afternoon at Bubble, followed by the Taste Like a Pro seminar at Suite. There are also VIP samplings and champagne tastings.
More than 32 wine companies and vineyards will be represented, and, like the art, wine ranges from affordable to expensive.
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