Originally created 10/15/02

Fund-raiser showcases art, wines



The Aiken Center for the Arts was elbow to elbow Monday night with patrons sipping vino, dining on fine food and browsing donated art that was offered up in a silent auction.

The center sold nearly 400 tickets to its yearly wine and art event.

Proceeds go toward the center's annual budget, which is about $200,000, said Don Edmunds, the executive director. The arts center generates most of its income from grants and fund-raisers.

Last year's event, also called A Taste of Wine & Art, raised about $30,000, Mr. Edmunds said. The center's other fund-raiser, an antique show in February, brought in about $50,000.

The center has three galleries. Its newest addition, a second-floor showcase with about 7,000 square feet of space, opened in July and was built with a one-time $250,000 grant from the city.

Mr. Edmunds said the center plans to open a fourth gallery, which would bring its total square footage to about 23,000. The center sells work by local artists and offers a variety of classes.

Monday's event helped show off Aiken's downtown, with 21 of the 23 food venders from the city.

Gary Simmons, the head waiter at Up Your Alley in Aiken, said the event is an excellent venue to showcase the city's fine restaurants.

"The more people that come downtown, the better," he said.

Reach Josh Gelinas at (803)279-6895 or josh.gelinas@augustachronicle.com.