For the Burlington Art Gallery, the easiest way to help museum-goers appreciate pieces is to give them unfettered access.
With events like their recent REVEL: The Ultimate Art Bash, they've taken a hands-on approach to getting art seen in their halls.
“This is a brand new fundraising concept for the AGB. In this inaugural event our narrative was to engage artists and connect them to a new group of attendees.” said Emma Sankey, the Gallery's Executive Director.
"We've been exploring various methods to display artwork in more innovative ways to allow visitors to engage with the space in a more interactive manner. Our aim is to attract a more diverse and younger audience. REVEL was successful in opening our doors wider to new group of participants.”
The November 17th, 2023 event surpassed Sankey's wildest expectations, featuring artists Omar Badrin, ORXSTRA, Tyler Matheson, Charlie Star, and more.
“This was a big party, and we had art activations in each space. It was experiential, and we used digital media to create an ambiance and atmosphere. We wanted to give people a great time, and partnerships helped us bring in a sense of community,” she said.
Spencers at the Waterfront's Executive Chef Chef Matteo was on-hand to prepare Salmon Tataki, DJs Grandmother Sago and Sahra Soudie set the vibe, and in-kind libations and food from Maverick Distillery and The Wandering Lovavore gave folks a true taste of the area.
There was a need when Sankey stepped into her role last year to blend both historically-significant parts of the gallery with new ideas – thus came forth REVEL.
"In the past, we organized an event called The Soup Bowl, which was a popular community gathering but not a very successful fundraiser. Despite making significant changes and hosting the event last year, we recognized the need to take a different approach this year,” she said.
“We needed to throw our doors open wider and serve the larger community. We want people to come to events, and then come back to view exhibitions and engage in learning programs. If we can't get new people here through innovative means, then we need to consider the feasibility of what we do. With an event like this, we're changing how people interact with the space and building excitement.”
The event also managed to exceed expectations financially as well, which has allowed Sankey to proudly announce there will be a second iteration of REVEL.
"We exceeded our $60,000 fundraising target, raising $85,000 thanks to the support of a fabulous committee, sponsorships from the local corporate community, great ticket sales - close to 400 attendees came to the event - and an excellent live auction, helping us generate more funds than expected. This success demonstrates the power of collaboration and hard work; we are incredibly proud,” she said.
“The place was abuzz with energy and activity, and I've only heard positive things about the event. Many folks who came through were invited by sponsors, and there was a really diverse audience. We hope to continue those relationships we began building.”
She was so thankful for the support of the community when it came to the event – from food provided at cost to in-kind contributions of wine, liquor and beer that brought expenses down. She said it allowed the event to really shine.
“An art gallery just isn't an art gallery unless people are inside engaging with it. We want this space to be filled with people, and events like this get people through the door. I think we can grow exponentially, and fundraisers help with that,” she said.
“REVEL started a dialogue and invited people to experience the Art Gallery of Burlington in unique ways. It's important to have a space where people can come together like this,” she said.
She is really happy that the event did well enough that they can have a second one on November 8th, 2024, and can't wait for what they come up with for the next one.
“Everyone came out wearing great outfits. There was a lot of glitz and glitter, which made things very exciting,” she said. “People had the opportunity to see amazing art in a new environment. Engaging artists is at the core of what we do, and we were thrilled to work with such a stellar lineup of artists this year. I'm already looking forward to next year.”
For more information on the gallery, visit them online here.