Tim Jaeger was searching for a way to boost community interest in the visual arts. As he sat at the bar and doodled on a napkin, the idea hit him. Why not tap people’s natural creativity and form a bar-based art competition, and let artists use coasters as canvases?
“People are going to doodle anyway,” says Jaeger. “It gets people involved in a dialogue about art. If I can donate some of the money to local schools, that’s even better.”
As CEO of SarasotaVisualArt.com and co-founder of s/ART/q, Jaeger wanted to develop a competition to give back to the community and eliminate the intimidation factor associated with galleries. He decided that a bar would encourage participation by providing a casual atmosphere. Jaeger saw Mr. Beery’s as an opportune venue, and he presented his idea to its owner, Mark Tuchman.
“It seemed like a way to give back to the community and have some fun, so I jumped on board without hesitation,” says Tuchman. “It has mass appeal; it’s not something that’s restricted to just accomplished students or professional artists — anyone can do it.”
The inaugural art competition, called Drawing Under the Influence, takes place at Mr. Beery’s throughout the month of January. Patrons, who either buy a beer or donate $5 will receive a blank coaster on which to create a miniature work of art.
A panel of local artists and gallery owners will judge the entries and award prizes Saturday, Feb. 9. Mr. Beery’s will also award a staff pick.
A portion of the proceeds will benefit art programs at Sarasota County elementary schools. In its inaugural year, the program will donate funds to Gulf Gate Elementary. Jaeger hopes to generate enough interest to continue the competition next year.
“It all starts in the beginning,” says Jaeger. “When you’re young and impressionable, a teacher can help develop your curiosity for something that can stay with you for the rest of your life. Hopefully this can help provide those tools.”