Artwork, food, wine and discussion mix and mingle at the Bluebird restaurant, which is hosting a salon series called “Picture This Like This: Artwork by Mary Livoni and John Coyle Steinbrunner.”
The series, which started on Oct. 18 and will only run for four consecutive Sundays excluding Halloween weekend, will foster discussion about the artwork, which is landscape-oriented. Tickets to the event are $30 and it includes a meal of the Bluebird’s choice paired with wine.
“What we’re doing in this salon series is we’re trying to offer people an opportunity to view and appreciate artwork, good food and wine in a completely comfortable and casual setting,” said Tom MacDonald, owner of the Bluebird.
MacDonald, Livoni and Steinbrunner became friends in the ’90s. Some of Livoni’s artwork has already been featured in MacDonald’s establishment. All three friends wanted to combine something that they cared about with the public.
“It was just combining three things that the three of us were passionate about and that was really the idea,” MacDonald said.
A goal of MacDonald, Livoni and Steinbrunner’s was to help people get involved in the artwork and forget about the rigid atmosphere associated with most galleries.
“He really identified with what we were trying to do in terms of food and wine, which is how do you create this alternative experience and take some of this fear and bewilderment out of the professional processes of looking at art and trying to compare wine to food?” Steinbrunner said.
He said the series’ purpose is to get people involved in art discussion and to make them feel as comfortable as possible while doing so.
“What we’re doing is taking the things around us that inspire us and kind of working them down into something that we want to present,” Steinbrunner said. “What the series does is allows us to [show] they’re really just objects of contemplation and really kind of get people to relax and look at them as that.”
Livoni was not as sure as Steinbrunner when it came to how people would react to their artwork.
“I know that J.C. and I both can stand up in front of a room of people and talk, but I didn’t know how people were going to react to us,” Livoni said.
She said her goal for the series was to introduce people to a new experience outside of the traditional gallery standard.
“It’s trying to engage people in a new way, I’m trying to show my art to as many peopleas possible,” Livoni said. “Sometimes having a conversation with someone you’ve never met before in front of your artwork, the only time that ever happens is at a gallery.”
MacDonald said he feels the first installment of the series was a success.
“We’ve talked about this for a number of years and weren’t sure how well we could pull it off and how to focus it and what people would think … it’s about getting [people] to participate and talk about art and it worked fabulously,” MacDonald said.
For more information about the event, including exact dates, visit BluebirdChicago.com.