CONCORD -- Frogard Butler knows that art and wine make a good mix -- especially when art and wine helps raise awareness and funds for a good cause.
An artist and a former member of the American Association of University Women Pleasant Hill branch, Butler said she's familiar with the need to raise funds and awareness for programs that benefit women's educations.
That's why last year, when she heard about the Concord Art and Wine Walk raising money for scholarships and businesses, Butler said her aRt Cottage gallery had to be part of the event, so she helped spread the word.
"I was surprised a lot of people came to the gallery not knowing what to expect and not knowing that the aRt Cottage was even here," said Butler. "I believe in what the AAUW stands for and what they're doing to enhance lives."
Now, she and her Tibetan terrier, Einstein, whom she adopted from Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation, aim to create a dog-friendly gallery for the upcoming Concord Art and Wine Walk on May 10. The aRt Cottage is the last stop on the walk.
Carlyn Obringer, who's on the AAUW-Concord board noticed that Concord was one of few cities that didn't have an art and wine festival.
"We were looking for a new fundraiser," said Obringer, who's the event chairwoman. "Our branch is raising funds to send seventh-grade girls to math and science camp. We believe in helping to keep girls interested in math and science and helping local girls within the Mt. Diablo School District by providing scholarships."
The event drew more than 300 visitors last year, its inaugural year. This year, more artists from all over the county will be participating and setting up artwork inside various businesses around Todos Santos Plaza. In addition to the aRt Cottage, other artists include Alice Martinez, Amy McRoberts, b jAXON, Carol Jurasin, Concord Art Association, Jewels Rios, Lisa Greenstein, Susan Pace-Koch, and Valerie Sobel.
"We've expanded the number of artists as well as different kinds of media," Obringer said.
Visitors are encouraged to stroll from one business to another to enjoy appetizers, wine and beer while viewing art, she said.
Featured wineries include Bloomfield Vineyards, Climbing Monkeys, Four Fools Winery, Harney Lane, Nimium, Renegade Winery, and Sterling Albert.
Tony Saraceno has lived in Concord with his family since 1989, and his children have attended the local Mt. Diablo district schools.
"In my opinion, it is extremely important to the development of any community to have its members support local causes. In fact, it is the epitome of a successful democracy, especially in order to foster pride in our community," Saraceno said.
During the event, Saraceno will be pouring wines made in Concord at Mt. Diablo Custom Crush and Winery under his label Nimium Wines and under the label of Sterling Albert Winery.
"The benefit of having this type of event is to showcase locally made products to the local community," Saraceno said. "One of the biggest comments that I hear when doing wine tastings throughout the area is, 'I did not know there was a winery in Concord.'
"In a world where products are constantly 'homogenized' to garner maximum acceptance and visibility globally, it is important to showcase products that are handcrafted and have their own individual character."
Obringer said the event is actually an "art, wine and beer walk," as featured breweries include Ale Industries, Black Diamond, EJ Phair, and Hop Grenade.
"Concord is becoming a craft beer destination," she said.
The walk begins by purchasing tickets at EJ Phair, which will be providing samples of beer.
"What we want to do is feature local artists and give them the opportunity to sell their work as well as provide an event where the public gets to see what the local area has to offer," Obringer said.
WHAT: AAUW's annual Concord Art, Wine and Beer Walk, with music in the plaza
WHEN: 1-4 p.m. May 10
WHERE: Todos Santos Plaza, downtown Concord
TICKETS: Tickets are $20/advance; $25 at the door; participants must be 21 or older. Tickets available through noon May 9, at http://concord-ca.aauw.net. All visitors must begin at E.J. Phair Alehouse, the starting location, to receive a wine glass, wristband, and map of participating locations
INFORMATION: Call 925-363-4438