Gotta have artCarey Torrice
By Jameson Cook, Macomb Daily Staff Writer
Described by an articulate partygoer as a “like a rainbow” of cuisine, the ArtParty in downtown Mount Clemens offered everything from sushi to sliders.”It’s like a rainbow … united into a single spectrum of celebration,” lawyer Anthony Urbani II mused as he twirled a drink in his hand. Urbani was among about 600 people who mingled and mixed and ate and drank under three large tents on Macomb Place Thursday evening at the 18th annual event to benefit The Anton Art Center, located within shouting distance of the soiree. Attendance exceeded last year’s by about 100, as many new faces joined in the spirit of fun and generosity.”It’s great to see a turnout like this in these tough economic times,” said Kim Schmidt of Grosse Pointe and a regional president of Community Central Bank in Mount Clemens.”There’s a lot of energy and great food,” said Lisa Brancato, director of development for Turning Point in Mount Clemens. “It’s nice to see people out having a good time in downtown Mount Clemens. And it’s a great networking opportunity.”Observers noticed the crowd included a few more young adults than typical in recent years as event organizers added some activities to attract more young people, such as a silent auction featuring a variety of items.More than 30 restaurants and establishments offered samples of their best culinary creations. “Compliments to chefs” remarks abounded as people munched on small portions off petite plates and sipped little glasses of wine, beer or liquor.”I went from place to place and tried everything,” Schmidt said. “There’s a nice array of choices.”Miniature pizza slices, sandwiches and smoke salmon pieces were favorites of Sue Coats, Turning Point director. Brancato, her colleague, favored “all the desserts.”Even a senior citizen facility Villa Bella of Clinton Township offered samples of what meatballs it serves. “Those were good meatballs, and I know meatballs,” said Urbani, who lives in Grosse Pointe and often practices at the county courthouse downtown. The highlight of the event was new participant Tina’s County House banquet center in Macomb Township, which won the people’s choices for best display and best food.Tina’s displayed a wedding table set for dinner where a faux bride and groom (albeit they were too young) dressed in a tuxedo and gown handed out wedding reception-like treats, biscotti’s. And like a reception, there was a bar where a couple of barmaids mixed drinks.Tina’s menu was comprised of “Tina’s famous” boneless breaded chicken breast, bow tie pasta alfredo and cannolis.While it didn’t win, several people mentioned as a “must try” the beef tenderloin offered at the Bath City Bistro booth. ArtParty visitors seemed to love the food and drink, but many said a big part of their motive in coming was to support the Art Center and downtown.”This is the biggest event of the year for Mount Clemens,” said Diane Herrick of Harrison Township, who manages permits at the county Road Commission. “It’s fun and supports the arts and this area.”Rory Ballard of Clinton Township, a mortgage director at Community Central, said “you got to support the art center” but said he also hoped to win the top raffle prize a tabletop replica of the “Apple of My Eye” sculpture (grandfather playing checks with granddaughter) on Macomb Place.”That’s the pride of Mount Clemens,” he said.Several people said they bought lots of raffle tickets to contribute to the center more than to win one of the three prizes. The second and third prizes were $500 in cash and $300 worth of cheer.