The Blanton’s Art on the Edge black-tie party is coming up this Saturday. Launched for the first time as a stand-alone event, it promises to be an unforgettable night of live music, dancing, cocktails — and art! — in support of the museum. We caught up with host committee chair Kate Perez about her two-year involvement with Art on the Edge, and her history with the Blanton and arts in Austin.
I’ve been visiting the museum since I was in college at The University of Texas at Austin. Back when the collections were split between the Huntington Gallery and the Harry Ransom Center, I would spend an afternoon wandering around or writing papers on the works for my art history classes.
I joined formally as a member when the new building opened, and have been involved ever since. I volunteer for several arts organizations in Austin and I love how they all support each other and promote the arts to residents and visitors alike.
You champion a variety of arts institutions here in Austin—what sets the Blanton apart?
I think that the Blanton is often missed as an arts destination because of its location on campus. Many people don’t realize how easy and convenient it is to get to the museum—I wander the galleries on a routine basis! When you take the time to stop in and really spend some time among the collection you’ll find there are so many impressive artists and works represented in the various galleries.
I believe that art really feeds the soul. So many beautiful things — music, design, art, dance — are like a breath of fresh air. Art also opens you up to new perspectives and makes you consider something you may have never noticed in the past.
Last year was your first time as Host Committee Chair for Art on the Edge—what was your favorite part, and what was the most challenging?
I love that this event brings together such a diverse group of people. You see people you know, but also make new connections, all while sipping cocktails and dancing the night away. (Speaking of dancing, the other great thing is Memphis Train Revue who will be performing for the second year in a row. They certainly know how to get a party going!)
All in all, the best part is the experience. You’ll also get a preview of Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s, a new exhibition opening in conjunction with the party.
As for the most challenging? There isn’t one really, except maybe that you can’t bring your champagne into the galleries!
What are your duties as Chair of this year’s Art on the Edge?
I really love advocating for events and organizations that serve the community. Since Art on the Edge is relatively new, we mostly focus on awareness and encouraging others to purchase tickets and spend some time getting to know the museum.
It’s been an honor to work with the Blanton over the last two years. We put together a great host committee last year and several of them returned this year, in addition to some new faces. The host committee is really about reaching out to different and diverse circles in Austin to introduce people to the museum—you always get to meet people you wouldn’t normally run into.
It’s also been a pleasure to work with the museum’s development staff. Sarah Burleson and Lindsey Bloch make this committee work like clockwork, and having that support allows the committee to focus on spreading the word about the event.
What would you tell people who are on the fence about attending Art on the Edge?
They should absolutely come! My favorite response to last year’s event was that “this is what a dance party looks like in an art museum” and it’s true. It’s black tie, but it has the energy that’s all about letting loose and having a great time with your friends. Last year I loved just standing to the side and watching the crowd—everyone was laughing and dancing and greeting their colleagues.
If you can’t make it to Art on the Edge, be sure to visit the Blanton another time — whether for a quiet stroll through the galleries on a weekday or one of their fantastic public programs, like Third Thursday!
Art on the Edge is this Saturday, February 20, from 8 p.m. – Midnight and features tunes by DJ Mel, live music by Memphis Train Revue, complimentary light bites and desserts, an open bar, an interactive photobooth, and more! Tickets are available online.
Rebecca Johnson is a volunteer blogger for the Blanton, and editor of McDonald Observatory’s StarDate magazine.