Schweinfurth fundraiser focuses on new local businesses


Next Chapter Brewpub, Gretchen’s Confections, Octane Social House, and The Cake Shop CNY are among the local businesses that will be featured at the Schweinfurth Art Center’s Perfect Pairings fundraiser, set for 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19 at the art center in Auburn. 

The focus of this year’s event is on new experiences, and organizers have recruited the four new businesses listed above to participate as well as more established favorites. The event also features a newly formed band and a silent auction that offers one-of-a-kind experiences that would make the perfect gift for yourself or someone else.

“We try to feature new businesses at our fundraiser, and this year we have a brand new brewery, a soon-to-be opened coffee house and cafe, plus two new businesses offering delicious desserts,” said Schweinfurth Program Director Deirdre Aureden. “Our event is the perfect opportunity to try them out while supporting the extensive array of community programs, exhibits, and art classes that the Schweinfurth provides.”

Reaching a new audience

The businesses appreciate the opportunity to reach the Schweinfurth’s supporters. “As a new business, it gives us the opportunity to showcase what we have and to meet with people and encourage them to visit our business,” said Scott DeLap of Next Chapter Brewpub in Auburn. “We look forward to sharing an experience with visitors to Perfect Pairings.”

Robert Otterstatter, who is working to open Octane Social House by the end of the year, said he is participating in Perfect Pairings to gain exposure both for his business and the local products he will be serving once it opens. “We want to provide a place where the community can get together and enjoy good food and drinks,” he said. “We will be featuring all New York State products.” He will be providing coffee from Gimme! Coffee in Ithaca at the event.

For Gretchen Christenson (shown above), owner of Gretchen’s Confections in Auburn, the event is the perfect launching platform for her business, which will open within a week. “I love what the Schweinfurth Art Center stands for,” she said. “I grew up working in the arts, going after school to the art center where I grew up in Vermont. That was my favorite place to be.”

According to Christenson’s website, she began college as an art major before earning a bachelor of science degree. “I’ve brought my love of art into my craft of chocolate making,” she added.

Stacey Lorraine, owner of The Cake Shop CNY in Skaneateles, also has a background in the arts: Her mother is an artist and father a musician. “The arts sometimes get the short end of the stick because people don’t see the importance of it,” Lorraine said. “I’m participating in Perfect Pairings because I like being able to support the arts and become an integral part of the community.”

The Washington, D.C., native has elevated cake making to an art, winning the 2017 season of “Cake Wars” and taking second place in the 2011 “Food Network Challenge.”

More restaurants, new band

Perfect Pairings will also feature tastings from recently opened Bistro Gusto Italiano and local favorites Gilda’s, Prison City Pub and Brewery, Beak & Skiff’s 1911 Established Distillery, 4 Tin Fish Farm, Toro Run Winery, Owera Vineyards, Inns of Aurora, and the Hilton Garden Inn. Music will be provided by string band Old Rope Factory, which formed this year. Guests can enjoy a sneak preview of our popular Quilts=Art=Quilts exhibit, which will be in the middle of installation.

The silent auction will feature a dozen different experiences, including one-on-one classes with well-known local artists; a private cocktail cruise on Skaneateles Lake; a tour, demonstration, and hands-on metalworking activity at Unite Two Design; and an overnight stay and wine tasting at Buttonwood Grove Winery.

Tickets are $45 a piece for Schweinfurth members, $50 each for nonmembers, or $160 for a four-pack of tickets. Members of IGNITE get a discounted rate, and may purchase 2 tickets for $50. Tickets are on sale now. Order them online or call the art center at 315.255.1553.

Perfect Pairings is sponsored by Cayuga Lake National Bank, which is the Music Sponsor, and Dessert Sponsors Sixty55 Design and Jacobs Press.

If you go …

What: Perfect Pairings
When: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, 2018
Where: Schweinfurth Art Center, 205 Genesee St., Auburn
Why: To raise money for Schweinfurth's community programs, art classes, and exhibits
Cost: $45 for Schweinfurth members, $50 for nonmembers, or $160 for 4-pack of tickets 
Tickets: Online at or call the art center at 315.255.1553