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News Story
Updated: 11/06/2013 08:00:01AM

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PHOTO BY AL PALMER

Julie Edmonds, a somalier with Republic National Distributing Co. pours a white wine to accompany the tasting menu's first course.

PHOTO BY AL PALMER

Florida Highwayman artist Robert Butler adds his flourishes to a joint painting he and fellow artist Richard Powers (right) prepared for the live auction at Friday's Toast to the Arts event.

PHOTO BY AL PALMER

Performance artist Tony Trotti shows off the original painting of John Lennon he completed in less than three minutes at the Friday Toast to the Arts.

PHOTO BY AL PALMER

Florida Highwayman artist Robert Butler adds his flourishes to a joint painting he and fellow artist Richard Powers (right) prepared for the live auction at Friday's Toast to the Arts event.

PHOTO BY AL PALMER

Julie Edmonds, a somalier with Republic National Distributing Co. pours a white wine to accompany the tasting menu's first course.

PHOTO BY AL PALMER

Performance artist Tony Trotti works on a painting for the auction that he completed in less than three minutes.

PHOTO BY AL PALMER

Frostproof artist Richard Powers starts a painting at Friday's Toast to the Arts that he jointly completed with Highwayman artist Robert Butler and auctioned for charity.

PHOTO BY AL PALMER

Tina Spath (center) joined David and Mary Ann Harrell at the Rotary Club Toast to the Arts event Friday.

PHOTO BY AL PALMER

Bartow Rotary Club event chairman J.C. Martin and artist Carol Hughes unveil the first annual Toast to the Arts wine pairing painting at Friday's event.

PHOTO BY AL PALMER

Frank Johnson beams along side the painting by local artist Carol Hughes that he bought at Friday's Toast to the Arts sponsored by the Bartow Rotary Club.

PHOTO BY AL PALMER

Virginia Condello and Jennifer Daniels joined in Friday's wine tasting at the Bartow Rotary Club's Toast to the Arts on Friday.

PHOTO BY AL PALMER

Mark McRae shows off his turkey painting by Carol Hughes, also purchased at the Friday Toast to the Arts event.

PHOTO BY AL PALMER

Water color painting of Sheriff Grady Judd by Haines City artist Dana Daydodge brought $425 at the Toast to the Arts auction Friday at the Bartow Civic Center.

PHOTO BY AL PALMER

Sylvia Fletcher and Diane Hinton check out the art at Friday's Toast to the Arts event sponsored by the Bartow Rotary Club.

PHOTO BY AL PALMER

Top ticket seller Bill Stewart places his bid in a basket at Friday's silent auction part of the Toast to the Arts wine and food pairing.

PHOTO BY AL PALMER

Somalier Eric Sellers shows off the second course wine at the Friday wine tasting and food pairing event hosted by the Bartow Rotary Club.

By CATHY PALMER

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Approximately 200 Bartow area residents clinked their glasses and raised them to the arts and fine food at the Bartow Rotary Club’s inaugural “Toast to the Arts on Friday-Florida Fresh Wine Pairing and Arts Celebration” held this past Friday, Nov. 1, at the Bartow Civic Center.

The event was hosted by Rotary to finance the club’s vision project and other charitable efforts in the community, according to event chairman J.C. Martin.

The evening featured the pairing of “Fresh From Florida” foods with complementary wines, coupled with art displays and a silent and a live auction.

Artists at the event included Glenda Losh, Carol Hughes, Richard Powers, Trish Sheppard; performance artist Tony Trotti; and world renown Highwayman artist Robert Butler. With the exception of Butler, the artists were all members of the Arts Ensemble Education Foundation, according to Ensemble spokesman Jane Waters-Thomas. Also featured were local authors S.L. Frisbie and Samantha Bayarr.

The diverse menu featured asparagus with Hollandaise sauce paired with a white wine. It was followed by mahi-mahi with fresh Florida mango salsa, also with a white wine. The main course was braised beef short ribs with rice pilaf coupled with a red merlot, and the meal’s conclusion was Key lime pie partnered with a sweet white dessert wine.

Fred Martin, owner of The Wine Stable , arranged for the wines provided by Republic National Distributing Co., with sommelier Eric Sellers and assistant Julie Edmonds. The meal was catered by the County Seat Cafe in Bartow, developed by owner Bill Mills under the guidance of Martin and event coordinator Tommy Griffin. The two also coordinated the wine selection with Republic National Distributing Co.

A highlight of the evening event was watching the progression of a joint painting done on site by Powers and Butler, which wound up on the auction block, selling for $550. It was purchased by Don McLean.

Also up for auction at the Friday event was the first original poster art for the event which was painted by Hughes. It was purchased by Frank Johnson. Rotary Club President Hazel Sellers also purchased an original water color of Polk Sheriff Grady Judd, also a Rotarian, which was painted by Dana Daydodge of Haines City.

RNDC also offered three wine-filled baskets for the silent auction in addition to works from each of the featured artists. They were acquired by purchasing tickets which were deposited in containers at each artwork from which the winning ticket was drawn.

Music for the evening was presented by Dave and Dave, a light jazz duo comprised of David Prince and Dave Smith. The floral arrangements gracing the dozens of tables at the civic center were prepared by Bartow Flowers and Gifts. They also were given to lucky ticket holders.

The Rotarian who sold the most tickets for the event was W.H. “Bill” Stewart who sold 67 tickets, said Martin. He added that all told, 260 tickets were sold with about 200 attendees at the event.

Martin said he suggested the unusual event to his fellow Rotarians, stressing the celebration of local artists and Fresh From Florida foods.

“It turned out to be a great event,” Martin said. “I feel sure it’s something we will want to do every year. And, it was fun for everyone.”


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