Since its official launch in May, the Fashion Art Network has thrown "curated parties." They tempt partygoers with a fresh vibe, cheap tickets, and booze, then treat them to an evening of design, performance, and visual art - typically featuring artists represented by the part event-planning, part marketing company. On the one hand, it's a sneaky way to present art without allowing for value judgment; on the other, who can say no to music, booze, and art?
"It's a great time. It's a real creative time," says Dwayne Williams, co-founder of FAN. "We've thrown events with fashion presentations from different designers, allowing the designer to present different looks to the audience with art shows simulataneously, with artwork spanning from traditional art to new media."
Thursday's event breaks the mold of previous parties, because FAN invited Darryl Ratcliff to curate a party called, "A City Under the Influence." He's invited music acts Sudie and Ronnie Heart to provide the jams; Elissa Stafford will present video and performance art; Patrick Romeo created an installation piece; and Fred Villanueva teamed up with Cupcake Wars competitor Lauren Lee to create edible art.
For Ratcliff planning this event with help from FAN is a step toward his vision of uniting the creative community - something he's made a mission of his new organization, Creating Our Future Dallas.
"The idea for this event started about a year ago. It's my brain child," says Ratcliff. "We decided a lecture and a panel wasn't the way to go, so we thought we could create a party that would attract a diverse audience."
What FAN strives for with these parties is primarily exposure for the artists, but for Ratcliff that wouldn't be enough. So he devised an element of the party called "The Influentials," which is part art project pitch, part popularity contest. Artists Roberto Munguia and Karen Weiner present ideas for new work and whoever garners more votes receives half the proceeds from tickets.
"We are all banging our heads on the funding issues in Dallas," says Ratcliff, who writes for Glasstire. "We've all written about it in some capacity, which is why I realized we needed to find a way to incorporate that into it."
So, Thursday night is a party with a cause, which is a model the city's big time philanthropists discovered years ago. FAN's model just gives a different, less wealthy crowd, the opportunity to participate in supporting artists. Tickets are just $10 and that includes your gin drinks.