The tenth annual Refreshing the Palette is this Sunday at The Metro Wine Bar & Bistro. Metro owner LaVeryl Lower started the event 10 years ago as a way to help local artists gain recognition (and some money), and to raise funds for the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC). While it’s technically an auction, the event is also one of the year’s best wine events, as it showcases all the new wines on The Metro’s holiday by-the-glass list.
“This started as a different approach to a wine tasting,” Lower says. “We thought art and wine seemed like the perfect combination, and we’d already been working with OVAC, so we decided to make it a fundraiser and a way for artists to make some money, too.”
After picking the wines for her list, Lower assigns wine labels to 20 local artists, who then create an original piece of art based on the label design. The result is sometimes representative and sometimes abstract, and Lower has no hard and fast rules on what medium the piece must take. Over the years, Refreshing the Palette has featured painting, photography, mixed media, sculpture and even some very-hard-to-classify categories.
Well-known local artists show side by side with up-and-comers every year at this event, and the art is always a fascinating cross-section of Oklahoma City’s creative landscape. Established artists such as Emily Fiaccone, Lori Oden and Susan Cooper have created pieces this year, and a Metro veteran, former server/manager Eric Brewer, will be participating for the first time. Denise Duong, who just opened her own gallery in the Paseo, will also be participating for the first time.
While they sample wines from the new list, attendees are allowed to bid on favorite pieces as part of the silent auction. The minimum bid is $125, but a “buy it now” price is also assigned to each piece. Twenty percent of each sale goes to OVAC, and the remaining 80 percent goes to the artist. Lower also splits the ticket sales – the event is $40 per person – with OVAC.The 10 red and 10 white wines include domestic and imported wines from Napa, Washington, France, Italy and South America. Several of the wines are new to the state this year, including Lang & Reed Chenin Blanc, Barter & Trade Cabernet Sauvignon, Erst + Neue Muller Thurgau and
Matthiasson White, which makes the event a rare chance to try a variety of high-quality, new-to-the-state wines in one place. Hors d’oeuvres are also circulated throughout the restaurant.
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