Artists famously drink to stimulate inspiration. However, at ArtBar, the money artists spend goes into the community and perhaps back into their own pockets as well.
ArtBar, an arm of Catalyst Club Inc., is a members-only performance space and bar created to support local art. They accomplish this by donating their annual net profits to various art-based nonprofits around New Mexico. (See previous Alibi coverage here.) It’s a unique idea that came to fruition last week when ArtBar opened its doors on July 11 to its founding members.
The venue was spacious, accentuated by high ceilings and sizeable windows that skirted much of the building. A large chandelier hung near the stage, refracting light onto excited art lovers, sponsors, organizers and artistes alike. The alluring aroma of Lobster Mac n Cheese drifted from a small kitchen operated by The Supper Truck. Large black comfy couches provided space to sip Bulleit Bourbon and people watch: skinny jeans-wearing hipsters, artsy girls in bright summer dresses, suited professionals and sandal-wearing vacation types. A well-stocked bar, despite its small beer selection, quenched the thirst of members as they danced to Carlos the Tall, a local cover band.
Though the opening night party went off without a hitch, ArtBar is still finding its footing in terms of target audience. The decor felt a little sterile, aside from a cool red light along the bar and a few paintings. It was suggested to me that the lack of original music and art on display represented a missed opportunity to get the local art community involved. Striking a balance between a youthful, beer-drinking, artistic crowd and an older and likely wealthier one will be essential to ArtBar’s survival. Hopefully, further artist involvement will become an integral part of this balance as they continue to grow.
With membership at $30 per year, ArtBar is an easy way to give back to the art community. A membership can be purchased at the door or from their website. I mean really, where else can you practice philanthropy by simply drinking a delicious beverage?