Reflections on the first afterWALK

Saturday night was the first night of our new afterWALK series. afterWALK is designed to complement the highly successful Downtown Gallery Walk. At the same time, it is another avenue for The Grand to highlight regional performing and visual artists. The concept—to feature a visual artist as part of Downtown Gallery Walk, but to add a performance by a regional artist in the Grand Lounge, starting at the end of the Gallery Walk and running for an hour or so after the “walk” concludes.

The Lounge is in the midst of an upgrade to make this possible. New furniture, decorative elements, and display/performance enhancements are being installed and though not yet completed, the Lounge took on a completely different look, with a display system for artwork on the walls, a cabaret-style setting and new tables, barstools, and chairs. Also unveiled was our new post-performance and Lounge menu, featuring our full bar plus complimentary popcorn, and a menu that included nachos, soft pretzels, and pizza.

Rob Anthony was our featured artist and he did his usual terrific job. As the evening went on, the new amenities became more obvious. One table ordered a pizza….and the next table saw it arrive. Then another pizza, and another. The crowd stayed steady, milling through the main lobby where Lisa Anderson’s art was on display, up to the Lounge, where Rob was playing and where Paul Schmidt’s art was on the walls.

It’s a new atmosphere for the lounge—part cabaret, part coffee-house. And it’s a nice complement to The Grand’s schedule. For my part, I got to watch the whole evening unfold from the end of the bar, sampling the bar food (quality control, you know), visiting with people, enjoying the music, the art, and the audience. I love a good show on the mainstage, but I could get used to this, too.

Next afterWALK is at the November 3 Gallery Walk. Featured performers are Tom Theabo and Whoopee Jim. Hope to see you there!

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