Pastel colors. Seagulls and sand dunes. Barefooted couples strolling along the shore at sunset. There is only so much a person can take.
Many of the art galleries in Pensacola seem to lack variety when it comes to subject matter. That’s why Jef Bond decided to throw an art party.
“I created Art Party out of frustration,” Bond said. “I went to a few shows and they seemed to be so stuffy and surrounded with a certain type of arrogance.”
Many of Bond’s friends who made art were not being accepted into galleries around town.
“At the time, beaches, landscapes, and thoughtless trinkets seemed to be all that the galleries wanted,” Bond said. “My buyer friends were looking for different and original art as well.”
The first Art Party was created to celebrate art and have fun without the pervading stereotype of the snooty art crowd. No more wine and cheese.
“Bring on the keg o’ beer, the mixed drinks and the fun music,” Bond said. “Art Party I was such a success—art was sold, friends danced, the police came and we all enjoyed a kick-ass party.”
Over the years, the Art Parties have transformed into a fundraiser for the National Transplant Assistance Fund in honor of Bond, who received a kidney transplant in 2009.
This year’s Art Party will take place at Vinyl Music Hall, which is a switch up from their location at Dolce Vita last year.
“Dolce Vita was the perfect place for Art Party VII, and this year I think Vinyl will be the perfect place,” Bond said. “Plus, I think it’s a good idea to change the location to keep it fresh.”
New location, new bands, new DJs, and of course—new art.
“It’s my goal to make talented, unknown artists into talented, well-known artists,” Bond said.
Thirty-five to 40 artists will be participating, as well as several DJs and a body painter.
“I don’t know if you all have seen Brooks Hubbert in the past, but he is an amazing, one-of-a-kind entertainer,” Bond added.
DJ Ramsey Coates will also be brought onboard for all those who love to dance.
“Ramsey mixes those super sexy beats to perfection,” Bond said. “He gets the dance floor hoppin’.”
The art will be new and original, the music will be exciting. The clothes will be outlandish. This year’s Art Party dress code theme: Ultra Creative.
“Push the limit to your extreme,” Bond said. “Make it fun!”
The Art Party VIII website even encourages guests to dress like art themselves, literally or figuratively—whichever strikes the attendee.
Over 800 people attended last year’s Art Party, and the number only seems to get bigger each year.
“Pensacola deserves an alternative to this every other month, wine, cheese and crackers crap,” Bond said. “Everyone always looks forward to this party each year, and they always thank me for doing something different in this town.”
Although the parties are fun and exciting, the best part about them is understated.
“They create awareness in the community of artists who would otherwise be looked over,” Bond continued. “They also stimulate Pensacola and challenge others to push their limits.”
It seems the Art Parties are making a name for themselves among the open-minded, art-loving, untraditional crowd of Pensacola, as each party garners more and more support—all the more reason to celebrate.
ART PARTY VIII
WHEN: 5-9:30 p.m. for VIPs; 9:30 p.m.-3 a.m. for all other admissions Saturday, Jan. 29
WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox Place