The Corcoran Gallery of Art’s 1869 Society hosted its fifth annual Artini cocktail fund-raiser on Saturday night for a sold-out crowd of 750. Organizers revamped the bar layout for the 11 participating mixologists, who created cocktails inspired by the gallery’s artwork, to streamline the traffic flow throughout the night.
“This event is really unique in that there are a large amount of bars in our space and they require catering and logistical backup,” said Brooke Clinton, the gallery’s manager of special events. “The new floor plan gives guests more room to move throughout the space and access the bars and gives the mixologists room to do their thing behind the bar.”
Other changes include a rise in ticket prices for general admission and V.I.P. tickets. After selling out the past four years, the 1869 Society’s event committee felt the event could sustain the price increase and raise more money for this year's beneficiary, the Corcoran’s ArtReach community-outreach program. To incentivize the sale of the V.I.P. tickets at the escalated $150 price (up from $135 last year), organizers created a secluded, exclusive lounge in one of the second floor’s empty galleries.
“After 8:30 there isn’t as much to being a V.I.P. once doors are open to everyone else,” said member programs officer Diana Kaw. “So to continue that [exclusivity] and make tickets more appealing, we provided access to a separate area to get a drink easier, with a full bar, and to sit if they want.”
Each of the artinis started with a base or mixture of one of the night’s five liquor sponsors: Remy Martin cognac, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Cointreau, Herradura tequila, and Mount Gay rum. Jose Ambrose of P.O.V. at the W Hotel won the Critic’s Choice award, decided by a panel of five judges, and Ronald Flores of Art and Soul received the fan favorite for his creation.
The event raised $50,000.