PHOTOPHILE- P-ART-ay! Second Street's big bash

What do you get when you mix local art with Absolut vodka, throw in a thunder and lightning storm out of the movies, and set it all in an old, decaying mill building? You get Second Street Gallery's "Artini," a several month fundraiser that culminated in an event on Friday, June 23 that some revelers say will go down in Charlottesville's party history.

"This is totally amazing," said Deedee Friend, one of the approximately 500 guests who flooded the Frank Ix building for the party that started at 9pm and stretched well into the wee hours. 

Partygoers weren't the only thing flooding the former fabric mill. As lightning flashed outside, torrential rain– which started as the party kicked off– had soon found its way through holes in the roof, creating impromptu waterfalls and adding an almost otherworldly quality to the event.

But though party organizers hadn't planned for bad weather, "We all loved it," says Alice Kim, operations manager of Second Street. "It was very like an underground club," she says. "It set a mood coming into that dark, dank flood." 

The Artini fundraiser started several months ago, with local restaurants competing to make the best "arty" martinis. The crowd's favorite: the "Delacroix," a concoction of Absolut vodka, raspberry puree, dry rosé champagne, garnished with chocolate, created by Boar's Head's Bistro 1834.

Judges chose Bang's "Monet," a mixture of Absolut Currant, pomegranate and cranberry juices, and a splash of lime garnished with an edible flower.

With tickets to the event selling for $35-40, donations from individuals, and restaurants providing food at cost, Kim says the event– designed to "draw in a new generation of arts patrons"– was a huge financial success. But that wasn't the best part.

"It became this huge dance party that went on and on," she says.

There were identification and date errors in the print version of this story which have been corrected online.–ed

As rain poured in, a private dancer lets off some steam

Cheers! Lynn Parli, Bev Nash, Joe Enders and Suzanne Nash kick back on one of the couch/beds scattered throughout the space

Artists Bishop Ebert and Monty Montgomery

Artist Jen Van Winkle bites back at a toy shark that garnished Oxo's Damien Hirst artini.

Robin Grimsby, Eddie Karoliussen, Adela Su, and Larry Herbert. 

Chris and Deedee Friend

Lynn Parli, Courtney Modecki, and Jay Chowdhry