Q&A with Carmen Overton on the East Coast’s first Farm to Table(aux) Event this month

The concept of Farm to Table(aux) is seen in this Tableaux Vivant depiction of 'The Last Supper.' The Columbus Museum's event this week will be the first Farm to Table(aux) event on the East Coast.
The concept of Farm to Table(aux) is seen in this Tableaux Vivant depiction of 'The Last Supper.' The Columbus Museum's event this week will be the first Farm to Table(aux) event on the East Coast.

This week, the Columbus Museum is bringing a new event model to the East Coast. The museum’s annual fundraiser will take a new shape this year in the form of a Farm to Table(aux) event.

Ivey Evans, a member of the Museum’s Farm to Table(aux) Committee, is thrilled the Columbus Museum is hosting such a unique event to promote the arts in our community. “The Museum is especially excited to bring this event to Columbus because it embodies our mission of bringing art and history to life for the people of the Chattahoochee Valley.”

To get a better understanding of the event format and why the Columbus Museum has chosen to bring Farm to Table(aux) to Columbus, arts reporter Carrie Beth Wallace recently corresponded with Carmen Overton, Columbus Museum’s Director of Development.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: What is a Tableaux Vivant? And how has it inspired these events?

A: Farm to Table(aux) is a fundraising event uniting Farm to Table cuisine with the theatrical French concept of Tableaux Vivants. Farm-to-table chefs rely on traditional farmhouse cooking, with its emphasis on freshness, seasonality, local availability, and simple preparations in an artistic way. Tableaux Vivant, French for living pictures, describes a group of costumed actors or artist’s models, representing scenes from literature, art, history, or everyday life on a stage. Each tableaux vivant will be representative of a work from the Columbus Museum’s collection. They are carefully posed and theatrically lit. In Victorian England, Tableaux Vivant was considered a playful pastime, a parlor game to amuse guests and engage them in a deeper appreciation of art.

Q: What type of live demonstrations will be there?

A: During the Cocktail Reception, four community-based designers each produce a spectacular tableaux using local models, actors, friends, or volunteers. Each tableaux will represent a work from the Museum’s permanent collection. Each work is currently on display in the Museum, but they are top secret until the night of the event. You have to come see it for yourself! Our tableaux designers are Eleanor Townsend, Kelsea Garrett, Debbie Garrett, Margot Schley, Jenna Griggs, and Kathleen Gallops.

There will also be several live art demonstrations happening that night. Guests will get to watch artists work in different mediums including painting, ceramics, and hand-sewn leather. We have amazing artistic talent in our community, and the Museum is fortunate to be well-supported by our local artists. Larkin Lane, RawHide Customs, Sally Denham, Bent by Courtney, Crown Pearls, and others have generously donated handmade items for auction at the event.

Q: Can you tell me who has contributed to the 10x10 gallery this year?

A: The 10x10 Art for Education Gallery will return for its third year. Artists from all over the Southeastern U.S. donate an original 10” x 10” work signed on the back and exhibited anonymously. All works sell for $300. This popular event encourages you to purchase art that you are drawn to rather than what you think is most valuable. I can’t tell you who the artists are, but they do range from professional artists with nationwide acclaim to emerging artists who are working to break into the industry. I’ve gotten a sneak peek of the art that has already come in, and I have to say I think this will be the best year yet!

Q: How will the funds raised be used?

A: The proceeds from Farm to Table(aux) help keep art and history alive in the Chattahoochee Valley. As one of the largest museums in the Southeast, the Columbus Museum is truly a jewel in our community. Thanks to the many generous people who invest in the Museum, we are able to enhance our visitors’ experience of the permanent collections by offering a variety of traveling exhibitions and special presentations of art and history from our own collection.

The Museum is also the largest classroom in the Muscogee County School District. Anyone from babies to adults can find a program or activity to pique their interest, learn something new, and connect with others in our community. Farm to Table(aux) is largely an event about enjoying good food and drink, socializing, and having fun, but guests are contributing to something that makes our community very special.

Q: Who are your sponsors?

A: The Columbus Museum is honored to have Aflac as the presenting sponsor for Farm to Table(aux) and over 40 businesses and individuals as event sponsors. Many local restaurants, businesses, and artists are also donating items for the event.

Q: What are you looking forward to most?

A: Ernest Hemingway wrote about living among artists, writers, and socialites as an expatriate in 1920’s Paris in A Moveable Feast. Honestly, that is what comes to mind when I envision this event. It will truly be a feast for the senses with fresh, locally grown food, a curated selection of boutique wines from Napa Valley, signature cocktails from local distilleries, and craft beer. Even the non-alcoholic beverages will be unique with kombucha on tap courtesy of Bare Roots Farmacy and sparkling spring water from Montane. Great live music, art coming to life, a chance to purchase an original work of art, or win a fantastic prize from the Mysterè Box raffle, and of course seeing old friends and making new ones.

Q: Why did you all decide to change the format this year? How are you hoping these changes will affect the outcome of the evening?

A: Farm to Table(aux) is an event produced by Studio 4Forty, the same company that produces Wine Women and Shoes. When we learned about the event and how it enabled us to incorporate the Museum’s mission by literally bringing art and history to life, we knew we wanted to bring this event to Columbus. We are excited to be the first venue to host Farm to Table(aux) on the East Coast.

If You Go:

What: Farm to Table(aux)

When: April 14, 6 p.m.- 9 p.m.

Where: The Columbus Museum, 1251 Wynnton Rd

Cost: $150 per person