Local artists and performers are in abundance while spaces are few. With only two off-campus venues in town that host performances such as burlesque and drag, a majority of house shows or bar events are for local bands. For local artists creating jewelry, prints and other physical products, it can feel impossible to find a platform to offer your goods.
To provide a space that caters to both of these artists, the Grand Artist Guild has hosted four hybrid performance and art shows at Bacchus Restaurant and Billiards on S. Chestnut St. With themes ranging from “Enchanted Cove” to “Volturi Masquerade” alongside this last weekend’s “Love Bug Ball,” these events provide a space for artists to sell physical products before and during the intermission of performances.
For patrons, this means going out can be a bit more interactive. With doors opening at 10 p.m. and the show starting just after midnight, you have plenty of time to browse the artist’s tables, grab a drink or soda and settle in for the performances. For those of us who are more vertically challenged, scoring a good spot up front early or finding a good vantage point is essential as the crowds turn more into a solid wall as the show begins.
Hosted by Professor M, the night started off with performers Evie Rowe followed by Charlie Dire and Diana Dysentery. For those unable to get a good spot, you could scramble to find an opening or head upstairs and shop without a crowd. As a bonus, the upstairs area provides a good viewing spot over the crowd.
Dancing around to songs like Lady Gaga’s “Bloody Mary,” the performers hyped up the crowd as they transformed the back of Bacchus into a stage, with patrons squeezing next to each other to keep a clearing for the stars of the show. As the night went on, artists upstairs began to break down their stands and head home or join the crowd after a mid-show intermission brought their last wave of customers.
As part of the “Love Bug Ball” theme, Grand Artist Guild organizer Daniel Blake provided a professional photo booth experience, with a $3 suggested donation and photos available on Instagram a day or two after the event. Blake spoke about the Guild events and what they’re here for.
“Anyone that wants to put their work out there, this community is a place to do so,” he said.
While this event was their fourth full show and sale at Bacchus, they’ve hosted a number of spelling bees and charity shows since their founding in May 2022.
Originally, the Guild hoped to host these events on a monthly basis. However, coordinating such a big event is often easier said than done, and getting the space available isn’t a small task. Almost more so because of this, it’s important to realize what this space provides.
If you’re an artist, reach out to the Grand Artist’s Guild. With more people interested in performing, selling their art or simply volunteering to help, these events can happen more often and find their way to even more people.
Transforming a dining space into a hub where artists and art lovers come together, with crowds of cheers and yells ensuring sore throats and zero regrets the morning after, isn’t an easy task. A boatload of gratitude is owed to Grand Artist Guild founders Daniel Blake, Xek Noir and Mariabella Rivera-Todaro.
Next time you see a post or flier for a Grand Artist Guild event, spread the word. Let your friends know, post on your story and maybe even come and get your own piece of art.
For those looking to participate with the Grand Artist’s Guild or find more information, go to @grandartistsguild on Instagram. Previously, The Oracle published a piece on the first GAG show in October 2022.