Inaugurating an afternoon of firsts, from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, the Liberty Theater presents the first Art a la cARTe, a benefit for the renovated theater that has a proud past, a sparkling present and a bright future. In another first, the festivities take place in what Columbia River Maritime Museum executive director Sam Johnson calls “the semi-finished stage” of the museum’s latest addition, Astoria’s Historic Train Depot. Built in 1925, the soon-to-be 90-year-old depot has been an integral part of Astoria’s past. Its revitalization will provide a one-of-a-kind space for educational, maritime and recreational events in the community. Guests attending Art a la cARTe will be the first to get a look at the soon-to-be completed facility, which will have a formal dedication in January 2013.
Liberty Theater president Betty Smith and event co-chair Jill Graham both knew a perfect fit when they saw one: the grand old theater providing entertainment in splendid style in an equally grand old building. “I think Sam (Johnson) saw the benefit of forming a partnership with the Liberty, and he trusted us to deliver a first-class event,” Smith said. “We loved the depot space from day one,” Graham added. “And seeing two nonprofits working together as two important partners means Astoria’s past continues to be a part of our future.”
The afternoon Liberty Theater benefit will allow the theater to show off its love of a good party with a great purpose behind it. Like a well-run train schedule, guests are advised to be on time. For a $25 ticket, each guest will enter the train depot’s Men’s Waiting Room. Live music from the acclaimed band Acoustica will fill the hall; a sumptuous spread from Wicked Good Catering will please palates; wine from Walnut City Wine and craft beer from Fort George Brewery will quench thirst – all compliments of the Liberty Theater and event party planners who know how to make a good time happen.
At 2:30 p.m., the Women’s Waiting Room/Gallery throws opens its doors to display the original artworks of more than 100 artists – some local, some not; some famous, some up and comers. Each artist donated an 8-by-10-inch artwork; the blend of mediums will be hung in a gallery-like setting, each piece available for $99. Artists have signed the back of their works, making all entries anonymous. The aim of this equalitarian undertaking allows guests to make selections of art based on an intrinsic attraction, not on an artist’s name recognition or a perceived worth. “You won’t know who created it, but you will know how much you love it. It’s an opportunity to purchase some amazing works of art at a fabulous price,” Smith said.
The event showcases community support and the importance of working together for the vitality of Clatsop and Pacific counties. “We see the Liberty Theater as a valuable gem in our community offering not only cultural venues but a place for young and old to congregate and enjoy the best of what the North Coast has to offer,” commented Rinda and Charlie Shea of the Shea Foundation, an Art a la cARTe sponsor. Other sponsors include the Bank of the Pacific, the Daily Astorian, Providence Hospital and U.S. Bank.
Like the Historic Train Depot, the Liberty is close to 90 years old. And like the depot, it has played a vital role in Astoria’s history. Dedicated to the performing arts and community involvement, the theater’s past, present and future, has had – and continues to have – a knack for attracting like-minded sorts. Come enjoy an afternoon of firsts. You’ll be back for seconds.