‘Martinis with Manny’ stirs up fundraising for Stouthouse

Aesthetes and artists gathered under the stars recently at Stouthouse – where artists create – for the nonprofit’s annual fall fundraiser, hosted by owner and artistic director Quentin Walter.

At an intimate gathering on the deck, the first hints of crisp fall weather nipping at the air, Brazilian guitarist and singer Manny Moreira, a 30-year veteran of the New York music scene, brought Broadway to Vero Beach, performing classic Latin, American jazz, R&B and a selection of original music.

“I had no idea that there was an artist’s residence here. It’s just fantastic,” said Moreira, who found the Stouthouse concept compelling. “I’m for anything that involves creativity, spontaneity and that aesthetic sensibility of trying to create beauty. We need that more than ever right now.”

While understanding the importance of an artist having quiet time to work and contemplate, Moreira also recognized an overall sense of solidarity among artists.

“When you find another artist, regardless of the medium that they work in, it’s a kindred spirit,” he explained. “We’re drawn to each other, sometimes in more peripheral ways.”

The big debate at the gathering was “shaken or stirred,” as in chocolate, lemon or dirty martinis. Retired Chef Huey Zaplin drew upon his formidable expertise, offering hors d’oeuvres and martinis for guests to sip on while perusing auction items and enjoying Moreira’s soothing music as a backdrop.

Auction and raffle items included artwork, jewelry, sculpture and pottery from local artists and former artists-in-residence.

Also on display at the veritable museum in the woods were stained-glass works designed by the late Weldon J. Stout, pieces from the STAF (Seth Thelonious Alvin Foster) Collection, and Walter’s own work.

The onus for the development of Stouthouse was to nurture creativity in a private haven where artists of all mediums can create, unhindered by the burdens of everyday life, amid the solitude of native flora and fauna.

Artists-in-residence stay at Stouthouse for approximately six months to develop and explore a major body of work, and stipends are provided as needed.

When COVID reared its ugly head earlier this year, Walter was forced to cancel the Movie Mania spring fundraiser, and it has stymied the program in general.

“We had a couple from London scheduled for January, but due to COVID they can’t travel,” said Walter. “So, we’re on hold for the artist-in-residence for now, and we’re focusing on the new building.”

Her vision is to replace the current artists’ workroom with a 3,800-square-foot, three-story, environmentally sustainable studio. The addition will include an archive, larger studio space, and room for the artistic director’s living quarters, so that an artist-in-residence can inhabit the original Stouthouse building.

Proceeds from the evening are earmarked toward funding the expansion project, preserving the home and stained-glass installations designed and executed by Stout, and maintaining the STAF Collection.

For more information, visit stouthousewhereartistscreate.org.


Photos by: Brenda Ahearn
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