Arts in the Industry started when a handful of servers, bartenders, and other restaurant workers decided to showcase the paintings, jewelry, and other items they made in their free time.
In October 2015, the group of about a dozen artists held its first event, an art sale and show with drinks at the Olde Bar in Old City, where some of them worked. To their surprise, more than 100 people attended, said founder Alison Hangen, and several artists sold everything they had.
On Tuesday, June 26, Arts in the Industry will throw its biggest party yet, a magic- and wizard-themed art sale, fund-raiser, and cocktail competition at Eastern State Penitentiary.
Tickets to the "Wands & Whisky" event are available online only and include samples of the competing cocktails, performances by two bands, beer, raffle baskets, and snacks from sponsors like DiBruno Bros. and MilkBoy. Other sponsors include San Pellegrino, Founders Brewing, and Maker's Mark.
The event will raise money for PAWS, the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, which will have puppies on-site ready to be adopted.
It also will feature art for sale by 40 artists, most of whom are current or former restaurant industry workers. It's the largest showing since Arts in the Industry began, and Hangen, who works at Oloroso at 11th and Walnut Streets, said the growth speaks to the vibrancy of the city's creative underclass.
"There's such a huge community of artists," she said. "I'm always amazed by the talent we have on display."
Next week's event will feature paintings, photographs, screen prints, jewelry, ceramics, illustrations, and more art for sale. Featured artists include Chris Narisi, who works at MilkBoy restaurant and who makes mixed-media art. His work includes interpretations of Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture. Nour Qutyan makes handmade pieces of crystal and wire for her business, Trinket Witch Jewelry, when she's not working at South Philly's Royal Tavern.
Adele McKenna of Honeyguts Art & Design uses watercolor, acrylic, and oil paint to create whimsical images of nature and fantastic creatures. Mariel Coughlin, who also works at Oloroso, was inspired by artistic plating in restaurants to start creating functional ceramic plates, bowls, and other dinnerware.