Ashley Jepsen admits that Bolted + Brine, the Friday night pop-up arts fest showcasing Waco-connected artists and musicians, has an unusual name, but there’s a meaning to it all.
Bolted suggests lighting bolts, which reminds her of God’s leadership and power, while brine, in a culinary use, adds flavor to whatever is soaked in it, she said.
The result, the event organizer hopes, adds a lasting flavor to Waco’s arts scene by providing contact between Waco consumers and Waco-connected artists and musicians.
Bolted + Brine will put six artists and craftsmen, a fashion designer, a jeweler, an events organizer, one dance ensemble, two solo musicians and a band plus food and drink in a downtown space for a night of introduction.
The event runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday at Apex Coffee Roasters, 324 S. Sixth St., a location that hosted a farm-to-table dinner some months ago. Admission is $5.
For Jepsen, a Baylor University graduate and director of the Baylor Dance Company, the minifestival is the type of arts-friendly affair that can start to build the economic base needed to sustain Waco artists. The communications major got the idea from visits to Nashville, Tennessee; Denver, Colorado; and Salt Lake City, Utah, to observe their arts scenes.
The question she sought to answer with her visits: Is art a byproduct of a successful city or a partner with it? Jepsen, who chose to stay in Waco after her years at Baylor, thinks it’s the latter and wants to grow the local interest and demand for art that will help pay the bills for artists and musicians wanting to make Waco a home. “It’s my dream for what events could look like in the city,” she said.
The visual art side of Bolted + Brine will feature Dallas painter and floral designer Marcy Cook, Austin painter Rachel Walter, Waco painter and sculptor Gabrielle Peralta, ceramicist Chad Pessarra of Black Oak Art, photographer Scott Kauffman, photographer/video producer Laura Lee Blackburn, fashion design company Mary Claret, jeweler EM Jewelry + Design and the store Gather Waco.
On the performing side are Austin singer-songwriter Abby Baker, Glenmerle, Waco band Honest Men and the Baylor Dance Company. Milo Biscuit Company will sell food and drink at the event.
Honest Men will headline the evening at 9 p.m., and for the Waco band, it’s a chance to show off songs from its upcoming album, “Okay Dreamer,” singer and guitarist Seth Findley said.
Findley began singing and songwriting on a solo basis about two years ago, but he wanted an alt-rock band to tap a broader musical territory. The latter came to be when he convinced his fellow musicians in the Antioch Community Church’s college worship band to enter a Baylor University battle of the bands competition. Friends and fans picked the name Honest Men from a list of possibilities that the members had circulated.
Honest Men won the contest, which led to a number of outside gigs for parties and weddings, then a decision in fall 2015 to see how far they could take the band. The next year found Honest Men expanding its circle of playing, extending to venues in College Station, Dallas and Austin, and launching a crowd-funding campaign for a seven-song album.
With backers supplying the money to start the project, the band traveled to Nashville last summer to record it with producers Jacob Schrodt and Jared Fox. “It was like a dream come true,” Findley said. “We definitely want to work with these guys in the future.”
The finished product will be officially released Jan. 20 but can be ordered in advance on iTunes. Its first single, “Colors,” already is winning plays on iTunes and Spotify.
With two members still in school, Honest Men is taking its future as it comes, but they are hopeful they can build on their Waco start, Findley said.
“We’re wanting to stay in Waco for the time being,” he said. “We totally believe in Waco.”