By Curtis Conlin
KMAC Bash 2019 was exactly that…a bash! This year we decided to take a different spin on our Bourbon Bash concept. Partnering with The LEE Initiative and Maker’s Mark, KMAC Bash introduced guests to new chefs and mixologists (an all-star, all-female crew) from the most popular Louisville eateries and cocktail lounges. Anyone who’s been to KMAC knows that our mission is to celebrate art and the creative process. Allowing these chefs and mixologists - all true artisans - to share the creation of a host of culinary delights with our guests fit our mission like a glove.
Each chef was asked to create a food item that could be easily passed to the guests and that showed off their culinary skills. Chefs were then paired with a mixologist who created a cocktail (and in one case, a mocktail) with Maker’s Mark’s bourbon to compliment the food. All of this plus a full bar (featuring products by the KMAC Bash event sponsor, Brown-Forman), a mocktail bar from The Mocktail Project, a grazing station by Atlantic No.5, DJ Sam Sneed spinning all night and the art of the KMAC Triennial added to a positively buzzy evening celebrating all forms of art in Louisville.
The most enjoyable takeaway from this year’s event for me, as KMAC Museum’s Event Coordinator, was the camaraderie the chefs and mixologists had with each other. I often get wrapped up in the logistics of the evening-making sure the timeline is being executed, confirming the bars are fully stocked and the tables are being bussed-but even I couldn’t help but pause and be awed by the beauty of the well-oiled machine inside the food and cocktail prep station. Seven different chefs and five different mixologists working independently to create their piece of the evening became part of an intricate dance with the assistance of our amazing volunteers. The whole atmosphere inside this tight space looked like a piece of choreography, and a perfectly executed one at that.
That this event came together with such precision is thanks in no small part to the foresight of KMAC Bash chair Theresa Carpenter Beames, who introduced KMAC to Lindsey Ofcacek and Chef Edward Lee of The LEE Initiative and Allie Dodson and Thomas Bolton of Maker’s Mark. The evening’s concept came from their creative minds. They are truly event gurus.
Finally, it’s large events like these that make me thank the stars I work at such a creativity-minded museum like KMAC, and that I live and work in a city that supports the arts in the way it does. Our Executive Director, Aldy Milliken, started his comments on Saturday night by saying “just by being here, you are saying you support the arts in our community”. Beyond that, our guests were not only there to support the arts…they were there to celebrate the arts. To me, a KMAC Museum event is such a glorious mix of people from all different backgrounds and viewpoints all coming together to revel in everything we love about art and our community. KMAC Bash was just that - a work of art that.