Art builds stronger presence at Grand Wine Affair |

Art builds stronger presence at Grand Wine Affair

A ticket to the Grand Wine Affair gets you tastings from more than 15 wine and beer companies, hors d'oeuvres, live music and access to a silent auction.
Staff Photo | Provided


Who: Grand River Hospital District Volunteer Association

What: Grand Wine Affair, a fundraiser for Grand River Health

When: 5-8 p.m. Thursday

Where: Grand River Health Conference Center, 501 Airport Road, Rifle

How much: $25 or $45 per couple in advance; $30 per person on Thursday. Tickets are available at the Grand River Cafe and Choice Liquors in Rifle.

Wine and beer have stolen the show for the past seven years at the Grand River Hospital District Volunteer Association’s annual fundraiser, the Grand Wine Affair. This year, art is taking center stage.

Don’t worry — there will still be tastings from more than 15 wine and beer vendors, h’ors doeuvres and a silent auction with about 90 items from throughout the community. Music from a cellist and violinist will flow from the corner of the Grand River Health Conference Center, where the Grand Wine Affair is hosted.

But because of a collaboration between George Cutting, president of the Bookcliffs Arts Center, and Kaaren Peck, director of volunteer services for Grand River Hospital District Meals on Wheels, donated work from 16 local artists will be highlighted more than ever and sold in a silent auction.

“The art is pretty eclectic,” Peck said. “There’s a black and white photograph, there’s pastel, oil, handmade jewelry — 16 different pieces that different artists from the area have donated.”

Peck said this year’s emphasis on the artwork came about for a variety of reasons.

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The Grand Wine Affair organizers are always trying to make the event a little different each year to keep it fresh. They decided to do that by heightening the importance of the artwork after Peck saw Cutting’s photography on display at the Rifle Branch Library as part of the Bookcliffs Arts Center’s Art Around Town program, which pairs artwork with local businesses and gathering places every month.

Art Around Town was started about seven months ago by Cutting.

“I wanted to get more exposure in our local businesses for our local art,” Cutting said. “I’m so excited about how the community is starting to come together and embrace our local artists. It’s happening: People are getting the idea that we’re serious about our work.”

Peck said the Grand Wine Affair’s silent auction has always included five to 10 pieces of art, but they were scattered among the other silent auction items. This year, the art will appear on tables around the room, right next to the wine and beer tables, so that people will be unable to miss it. In addition, most of the artists will be present to talk about their work and answer any questions from attendees.

“Since it was already there in small amounts, I think this way the focus is going to be more on talking to the artists,” Peck said. “It’s kind of a two-way street; it helps out the local artists, and I think it will bring in a new genre of people who may have never come to our Wine Affair before.”

Reaching the art-lover demographic has been on Peck’s mind since Empty Bowls, a fundraiser for Grand River Meals on Wheels that took place in March. For Empty Bowls, pottery students at CMC Rifle created about 150 handmade ceramic bowls that went home with ticket-buyers. Peck said she saw a whole new demographic of people at that event that she’d never seen at Grand River Health fundraisers before.

While Peck is excited about this new emphasis on art, she said the Grand Wine Affair has always been one of her favorite events.

“I look forward to this event personally just because it’s fun, and it’s a great coming together of the community,” she said.

Money raised at the Grand Wine Affair will go toward improving the children’s therapy rooms at Grand River Health Clinic West.

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