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Pint of goodness: Drekker fundraiser combines local beer, art and philanthropy

The Unpillage Pint Project exhibit is currently on display in the Drekker Brewing taproom. Chelsey Ewen / The Arts Partnership1 / 5
Artist Christina Johnson submitted these pieces for the exhibit. Photo courtesy of Christina Johnson2 / 5
Twenty-eight local artists contributed around 40 pieces of artwork to the Pint Project. Chelsey Ewen / The Arts Partnership3 / 5
Graphic designer Jeff Knight wanted to capture the Viking culture of Drekker Brewing for his submission to the project. Photo courtesy of Jeff Knight4 / 5
Karman Rheault designed this piece for the project. Photo courtesy of Karman Rheault5 / 5

Since Drekker Brewing Company opened in 2014, the local brewery in downtown Fargo has had three main passions: making craft beer, supporting local artists and giving back to the community.

Drekker intersects these passions in many ways (especially the "making beer" part), but the company wanted to find a creative way to combine them and make a greater impact.

Putting Drekker's extra pint glasses to good use was a plus.

Thus came the idea for the Unpillage Pint Project, a silent auction featuring local artwork made out of pint glasses to raise money for Lend A Hand Up, a program that provides assistance to families facing medical crises.

From 5 to 10 p.m. on March 29, attendees 21 and older will get to bid on more than 40 pieces of art, meet the artists and enjoy Drekker beer for a good cause.

"We're positive that by channeling the energy that already exists behind local art and craft beer, we can create an unstoppable force for good in our community," the Drekker website states.

Drekker gave the 28 participating artists creative freedom to make whatever kind of artwork they wanted with two plain pint glasses per artist.

Some artists painted the glass, while others etched, melted, sculpted or smashed the glass altogether to create a mixed-media masterpiece on canvas.

Local artist Jeff Knight approached project with a graphic design mindset. Using an acid-based glass etching solution and stencils on the glass, he created icons that reflected the Viking-inspired culture at Drekker.

Knight is one of many artists the brewery has worked with since it opened, whether he was designing logos or displaying his Albino Buffalo sticker machines in the entrance. The Pint Project is a way to give back and help Drekker reach its fundraising goal, he says.

"(The project) was also an interesting artistic challenge, which I appreciate as a designer and artist," Knight says. "It's always good to step (into) the uncertain, creative world of solving problems."

Jesse Feigum, Drekker Brewing co-founder and Head of Nerdery, says it's been fun to watch Drekker staff and customers react to the pieces as submissions trickled in. Each piece of Pint Project artwork is currently on display on the brewery's "art wall," which will resume as free gallery space for local artists after the fundraiser.

Feigum and Taproom Operations Manager Adam Schumacher expressed gratitude to all artists participating in the Pint Project and to those who have offered their talents in the past.

"Our passion is craft beer. That's our 'local art,' " Schumacher says. "That translates well to other people making art. We're expressing ourselves through beer, while others are doing it through canvas or (other media)."

Feigum says incorporating art into Drekker's business structure helps create an experience for people coming to the taproom.

"(People) come to a brewery for a reason: because something is created there," Feigum says. "Having local art on the wall helps us support that mindset."

Knight reciprocates the attitude of gratitude and says the crew at Drekker is a good example of a philanthropic business that also embraces the arts.

"I think the process involved in making a tasty pint of craft beer can be compared to the art-making process," he says. "I'm appreciative of how they not only understand that creative process, but embrace it and know its importance in our community."

All art auction proceeds at the Unpillage Pint Project and $1 of each pint sold at the event will go to Lend A Hand Up, with match funding provided by Dakota Medical Foundation. Admission is free for attendees 21 and older.

For more information, visit drekkerbrewing.com/pintproject.

If You Go

What: Unpillage Pint Project fundraiser for Lend A Hand Up

When: 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, March 29

Where: Drekker Brewing Company, 630 First Ave. N., Fargo

Cost: Recommended $5 donation at the door

This article is part of a content partnership with The Arts Partnership, a nonprofit organization cultivating the arts in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo. For more information, visit theartspartnership.net.

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