By Maria-Jose Subiria
The smell of wine filled the strategically-lit gallery, which added to the warm and inviting environment inside Arts Clayton, in Jonesboro, for the 50 or so patrons who were in attendance.
Arts Clayton, a non-profit organization, once again partnered with Highway 138 Package Store, in Stockbridge, to bring The "Fall Wine Harvest 4th Annual Holiday Wine Tasting" event to residents of the Southern Crescent.
The event allowed people, some of whom would not otherwise get a chance to visit the gallery, to view, and possibly purchase, artwork, while they enjoyed the atmosphere and tasted the array of wines being offered by several different distributors, according to Karen Powers, gallery manager at Arts Clayton.
Pat Sebo, a City of Jonesboro councilmember, said she has attended the past three wine tastings at the gallery, and looks forward to the event every year. "This is an outstanding event ... It grows every year," said Sebo. "We're very proud to have Arts Clayton in the City of Jonesboro, representing the county."
Yvonne Prioleau, executive director of House of Dawn, a non-profit organization for teenage mothers, said she also looks forward to the wine tasting, annually. "The art work, the opportunity to get together with members of the business community," said Prioleau, describing the main reasons why she is so fond of the annual gathering.
Billy Smith, of Stockbridge, said he has been to "Taste of Atlanta" events in Atlanta, but this is the first time he has experienced the wine tasting event close to home.
"So far, so good," said Smith, as he took in the art and his fellow participants. "I am really enjoying it."
Kat Higgins, owner of the 138 Package Store in Stockbridge, said, although she has conducted wine events in the past at other locations, the Arts Clayton Gallery is the best fit.
"This is the perfect one [location] ... this is just so much more successful because of the atmosphere here," said Higgins.
Higgins said this is the fourth year the Highway 138 Package Store has partnered with Arts Clayton.
The event benefits both sides of the partnership, because it promotes the current and coming wines at the package store, and the exhibits and other displays at the gallery.
"It's a wonderful holiday event," said Higgins. "It pairs wine with art ... This is perfect for really great wines that are coming to the market."
Gallery Manager Powers said net proceeds from the tickets sold will benefit Arts Clayton, and assist with expenses associated with the gallery.
"It gives Clayton County another great thing to do in an area that is kind of short on social functions," said Powers. "There are not many wine events in Clayton County, and it is contributing to the social-event diversity in the area."
According to Higgins, wine distributors who do business with 138 Package Store, including Georgia Crown, Quality Wines, Grapes to Grain, Prestige Wine Wholesale, and Empire Distributors, were on hand with a variety of wines for patrons to sample.
"We are supporting the [Highway 138] Package Store in their endeavors to support the arts," said Harry Petrides, of Grapes to Grain.
Grant Wainscott, director of Clayton County's Department of Economic Development, said arts and culture are an important part of the quality of life to most people.
"Every time Arts Clayton has an event like this, you see new faces," said Wainscott. "To me, it's a wonderful marketing tool. This is about connecting citizens of Clayton County and the region."