Muncie BrewFest Supports Arts Education Again on April 13, 2019

Muncie BrewFest Supports Arts Education Again on April 13, 2019

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

You don’t run into alot of corporate art. There’s some out there for sure; the whole Andy Warhol art factory kind of thing, or the Thomas Kinkade debacle of the 1990s and 2000s with all the merchandise and a bucketful of paintings seeming to be done each day. No, art is by and large a solitary activity, carried out by one or a small group of dedicated people with a vision.

On the other hand, enjoyment of that art is only sometimes best done alone. In the majority of cases, viewing art is most fruitful when done in groups. With discussion and shared experience building, the event turns into something more than it would have been on its own. Not surprisingly, I’m going to relate this to craft beer… that doesn’t shock you, does it?

Craft brewing is an art, and going corporate pretty much just ruins it all. For the best results, a brewer or two get together to develop some beer, and they toil away in relative obscurity to bring their dream to life. Then, the public gets to experience that craft, often times in a social setting. And that’s where it is done best. There’s nothing wrong with drinking alone, but drinking a craft beer with friends is better. You don’t even have to talk about the beer, it’s enough that you are all experiencing it together.

image credit: munciebrewfest.com

To take the analogy one step further, just how a brewer or brewery gets their beer out in to the world for us can also be an act in furtherance of their art. Breweries of a certain size and draw require a distributor and there’s no shame in that. But some breweries choose to do the sales and the delivery themselves, sort of like artists who display their work in the park and look for people to appreciate it enough to purchase it – it’s all on them from start to finish. It’s worth supporting artists and brewers in these kinds of endeavors.

And that’s where we get to the upcoming 3rd Annual Muncie BrewFest to be held at the Cornerstone Center for the Arts in Muncie on April 13th from 3-6pm (2pm for early bird ticket holders). The link between brewing and the arts will again be on display, with nearly two dozen craft breweries pouring their beers in a beautiful setting while artists engage in their craft, and other art is on display. Craft beer and art coming together is great, but it’s even better in this case because the festival acts as a major fundraiser for Cornerstone.

The Cornerstone Center for the Arts is a local public arts association that provides free or greatly reduced arts education for students of all ages in the Muncie area. The have music classes, dance, painting, ceramics – over 100 different arts education opportunities for the community. Only 1/3 of their funding comes from grants, the other 2/3 must come from sustaining projects, including fundraising efforts. It can’t be overstated how important these rare fundraisers are; the center financially supported the study of more than 2800 students in 2018. Jeff Robinson, Associate Director of Cornerstone sees their mission as one of promoting all the arts, of which he considers craft beer a definite example.

This made a craft beer festival a no brainer as a type of fundraising event for the center. Cornerstone has a lot of experience putting on events and it shows at the Brewfest. They host more than 150 affairs a year in the various ballrooms and open spaces of the center, many of which are weddings, non-profit fundraisers and community events. Therefore, you can be sure that this is a well-run festival.

The rooms for the event are gorgeous. image credit: munciebrewfest.org

The festival was expanded last year, with more breweries and an added third room in the Center for attendees to enjoy the wares of local and regional producers. Look for that trend to continue this year, with the building itself being part of the event. The Masonic Temple was built in 1926 through a donation by the Ball Brothers. Jeff told me, “The only stipulation from the brothers was that the 1st floor have an auditorium (E.B. Ball Auditorium) for world class entertainment and a ballroom (Colonnade Room) for the community to gather in and that they be open to the community year round.”

So the building itself is art, the rooms used for the festival are covered in murals and are decorated to within an inch of their lives. Artists will be working on art during the festival, and music will be all over, from DJ Jannell to live music from The Bashville Boys. Everything about this festival screams art, including the beer.

The breweries invited to participate in the Muncie BrewFest include establishments close to Muncie, as Jeff wants to promote these local businesses and introduce more people to them in the hopes that they will become regulars. The other point with the breweries is that the vast majority of them either do not distribute or only self distribute. It’s getting back to that theme of artists who control their art from beginning to end. Having small breweries that do everything from A to Z mimics those artists that toil alone to produce their art.

image credit: Junk Ditch Brewing

So who are these brewers that are coming out to help support art classes in the Muncie area? Local favorites will be there, like The Guardian, New Corner, Elm Street, CT Doxey, and Creatures of Habit. There will be beer from Thr3e Wise Men, who has a taproom in Muncie for beer made in Indy. Also from the Indy area, Bier Brewery, Centerpoint, Big Lug, and Deer Creek will be pouring, as well as Bad Dad from Fairmount and Half Moon from Kokomo. There may be more breweries booked in the coming weeks, but for now the breweries from farthest away are Junk Ditch Brewing and 2Toms Brewing of Fort Wayne. These are two rising stars of Indiana craft beer; the attendees are lucky to get a chance to drink Todd Stone’s (Junk Ditch) and Tom Carpenter’s (2Toms) beers.

Of course, no festival like this can raise significant funds for charity without sponsors. Jeff Robinson said, “Indiana Michigan Power is a great partner to Cornerstone and supports many of the fundraising events we do. They’re big supporters of Cornerstone’s mission to provide affordable, quality arts education programming to the Muncie community. Cornerstone provides scholarships and financial aid to nearly 30% of the close to 3000 students we serve every year. Sponsors like Indiana Michigan Power provide the financial support that pays the overhead for the event, making every single Muncie Brewfest ticket sold a direct donation to those scholarships and financial aid for our students! Without the support from Indiana Michigan Power, Prime Trust Federal Credit Union, Muncie Liquors, Praxis Consulting and the Muncie Visitors Bureau…this event just wouldn’t be possible!!”

Get your tickets for Muncie Brewfest here, and you can learn more about the event at munciebrewfest.org. Come out and support artists – all kinds of artists, from those that use malt and yeast to those that paint, sculpt, draw or build. It’s a good time for a good cause.


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