Tomorrow, December 5, marks the start of Eat Local Week, Edible Austin’s winter fundraiser event. Everyone should make the effort to attend at least one Eat Local Week event, or at the very least enjoy a meal at one of the participating restaurants. And if you can only attend one event, might I recommend the upcoming Gulf Coast Sampler presented by the Austin Museum of Art. My colleague Susie Gidseg and I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Andrea Mellard, assistant curator at AMOA, about this important gathering.
As many of you already know, AMOA is currently hosting a retrospective for the work of Texas based artist David Bates. Though the aesthetic pleasures offered in his bold brushstrokes and moving subject matter are enough to warrant a visit to AMOA, the Gulf Coast Sampler, being held December 8 at 6:30 pm, extrapolates on the motifs of fishing and place in Bates’ work to provide the viewer with a multi-faceted perspective on art, fishing, place and sustainability.
Fishing was a “constant inspiration for [Bates’] work,” Ms. Mellard said, leading us through the exhibition. We paused in front of a particularly striking painting of five fishermen at work, cleaning the day’s catch at a table with the coast looming in the background. “Looking at Bate’s fishing imagery,” Ms. Mellard said, “we saw the connection to the parts of Austin interested in sustainable food, eating local, food traditions, and we thought, ‘why not focus on that.’” Thus, the Gulf Coast Sampler was born.
The evening’s events begin with a brief discussion of Bates’ work by Sue Graze, director of Arthouse. From there, the conversation opens ever outward with words from Roberto San Miguel, a local fisherman; chef Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due Supper Club; and Elizabeth Engelhardt, a professor of American History at UT who specializes in foodways.
“We hope the evening will be a dialogue,” said Ms. Mellard. “Food is so personal; everyone will have ideas and questions about this.”
And of course, there will be food. Roberto San Miguel will catch the fresh fish and shrimp, and Jesse Griffiths will prepare it. The only impediment I see to dialogue would be everyone feasting on such delicious, local cuisine.
Tickets for this event are $15, with proceeds going to Urban Roots, a youth development program fixed around sustainable agriculture.