The anti-gala, a fundraiser hosted by Albany Barn and Electric City Barn, returns next Friday (Oct. 15) both in-person and online.
People can come by Albany Barn for dinner, dancing and networking; or they can head to the Electric City Barn for an evening of music, dinner and arts activities. There are also a few virtual options as well.
Albany Barn, a non-profit, started hosting the anti-gala a decade ago, as a way to raise money and shine a light on local artists.
“We called it the anti-gala because it was really meant to be a fun party that celebrates all of the artists in our network that we’re here to support,” said Kristen Holler, the executive director of the Albany Barn and the Electric City Barn.
The former provides a place for artists to work, as well as a place to present their work and collaborate with people in the community. In partnership with the Albany Housing Authority, it also provides low-cost live/work apartments. Electric City Barn works to connect makers with community members through project-based programming.
The pandemic has presented a host of challenges for both.
“More than a year of not being able to do live events, not being able to bring people together has really hurt our earned revenue streams but also has really hurt the artists that we work with and that we try to promote,” Holler said.
During the first half of 2020, the organizations focused on financially supporting artists, joining with Albany Center Gallery and others to found the Creative Impact COVID Relief fund.
“We became a fiscal sponsor of a bunch of artist-led relief projects and public support projects. So by the time we got around to really looking at our own financial picture and fundraising and making sure that we were going to be able to weather the pandemic, it became very clear that support from people who care about the continuation of arts and culture in our region was going to be really critical so that we could make sure that we come out of this stronger than ever,” Holler said.
In January, they hosted a virtual [dif]FUSION anti-gala and were met with positive feedback.
When they considered bringing the anti-gala back to its traditional October time slot, organizers knew they wanted to have a mix of in-person and virtual options.
“We still want to take precautions with COVID. We know not everybody’s ready to get back into a physical space with other folks so we thought what better time to highlight both of our venues?” Holler said. “We’ll have a small in-person gathering at Albany Barn, a small in-person gathering at Electric City Barn and then we’ll bring back that virtual element. So we get the best of all worlds and can allow as many people as possible to participate while still keeping safety in mind.”
Attendees can pick from the following five experiences, which kick off at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15:
● Dine, Dance, and Discover in-person at Albany Barn for a party that’s a little bit networking and a little bit dance party.
● Mix, Mingle and Make in-person at Electric City Barn
● Cocktails from the Couch for an interactive virtual event perfect for the grown-ups including a
“Mixology 101” supply kit, and guided lesson in all things craft cocktails.
● Friday Night-In for Families for an interactive virtual event perfect for the whole family including a supply kit full of goodies for guided family-friendly art activities.
● Social Butterfly for those who want to participate virtually without the food and activity add-ons.
Those who are attending virtually and want one of the above supply kits should plan to order tickets before Thursday, Oct. 14. Supply kits will be available for pick up at either venue next week.
For tickets and more information visit albanybarn.org/fusion.