VACI Partners design ‘Romeo & Juliet’-themed Stroll Through the Arts

The annual Stroll Through the Arts fundraiser for art student scholarships will go off with a hitch this year — several hitches, actually. As guests arrive at Fowler-Kellogg Art Center at 5 p.m. Thursday, they will each have a name placed on their backs: one half of a famous artistic couple, like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, for example.

“We get a lot of the same people at the fundraiser every year,” said Mimi Gallo, a VACI Partners member organizing the event. “We want more intermingling this year.”

Gallo created the “passionate pairings” game to get more people interacting as they tour Chautauqua Institution’s arts complex, including Fowler-Kellogg, Strohl Art Center and the Melvin Johnson Sculpture Garden. The object of the game is for participants to guess which member of an artistic couple they have written on their backs. Gallo and the event’s other organizers will give clues to help them guess.

Inspired by the romance in the inter-arts collaboration, The Romeo & Juliet Project, VACI Partners used pairings all across the Stroll Through the Arts event. The food for the evening comes in twos: pairings of wine and cheese accompany antipasto and shrimp, beef on weck and salmon and dessert and coffee, among other things.

A guitarist will play throughout the evening as guests spend time with the “Contemporary Couples: A Creative Life Together” exhibition in Strohl and the student work in the School of Art Annual Student Exhibition, which takes up two floors in Fowler-Kellogg.

“It’s the first time the student show and the fundraiser have overlapped,” Gallo said. “That’s very nice for us, because Stroll Through the Arts is the only fundraiser we do where all the money goes to scholarships for the art students.”

Tickets cost $75 and can be purchased at Strohl Art Center.