Bluffton Packet


Organizers in Bluffton who created the popular art walks in old town are adding a new ingredient to the event.

Instead of walking from gallery to gallery â€" and grabbing a bite to eat afterward â€" galleries and restaurants have teamed to present "Plate and Palette," an art walk with restaurant samplings, from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday. The event is sponsored by the Old Town Bluffton Merchants Society and features eight galleries on May River Road, Calhoun and Boundary streets, along with neighborhood restaurants, which will provide food samplings at specific galleries.

Art walks in old town began more than three years ago, the most recent attracting thousands of people over three days in February. That's when the idea of offering food was added into the mix. The Maye River Gallery invited Bluffton Family Seafood House to provide samplings so they could promote the newly opened restaurant.

"They brought shrimp salad cocktails and oysters," said Diane Dean, a Merchants Society board member whose mixed-media art is at Maye River Gallery and Pluff Mudd Art. "Everyone was so thrilled with the food; they had people waiting in line at their restaurant."

In the previous art walks, galleries provided food, wine and non-alcoholic drinks. At Friday's event, restaurants will take on the food costs. Wine and non-alcoholic beverages also will be available at no cost.

"Every time people come in our shops and galleries, they ask, 'Where should I go to eat?'" said Laura Silberman, a Merchants Society board member whose ceramic art is at the Maye River Gallery. "People like to sample what everyone has to offer."

More than 200 artists will be exhibited at Four Corners Art & Fine Framing, Maye River Gallery, Preston Pottery Studio, Pluff Mudd Art, the Society of Bluffton Artists' SoBA Gallery, Old Town Vintage Posters, the Filling Station and Gallery Without Walls. Artists' demonstrations will be happening throughout the event.

The restaurants represented will be Cahill's Market Chicken Kitchen, Captain Woody's Seafood Bar, Cork's Neighborhood Wine Bar, Downtown Deli, the Sippin' Cow Cafè, 9 Promenade, Bluffton Family Seafood House and caterer Reeves Outdoor Catering.

About 90 percent of the art will be by local artists and some of the food featured will be locally grown and raised. Organizers are working at appropriately pairing food samples with each gallery. For example, Cahill's Market, which grows a lot of its food, will be teamed with Art Gallery Without Walls, which specializes in outside art.

"When we do art walks, people do come out for the art. But people who come also benefit from seeing the other shops in Bluffton and the other businesses that stay open as well. The idea is to cross cheerlead and promote each other," Silberman said.