BEST ART, FOOD AND FLICKS COMBO

Tuscan Meal and Tea With Mussolini at Gulf Coast Museum of Art

The Clearwater Fine Arts Society was founded in 1963 as a fundraising group for Bellaire's Florida Gulf Coast Art Center, Inc. (now Largo's Gulf Coast Museum of Art). Fortunately for the Bay area and the museum, it's still going strong. A few years ago, one of the Society's creative committees headed by art supporter/activist Betty Lang came up with a novel idea — to feed the senses through a combo of cinema, food and art. The project debuted in January 2002 with a sweet theme. Guests forked over $15 per person to view the film Chocolat in the museum's theater and then nosh on yummy chocolate desserts donated by local upscale restaurants. The arty committee pulled out all the stops with silver tea services, real crystal and roses. For their January 2003 encore, they upped the price to $25, screened Tea With Mussolini and headed for museum galleries to sip wine and nibble on Italian finger food. And look at art. Word's already out that in January 2004 they're gonna do it again with the flick Fried Green Tomatoes. Look for a simulated Whistle Stop Cafe in the museum galleries where ladies will serve up barbecue and biscuits, and iced tea and lemonade in Mason jars. One added bonus of this clever fun-filled afternoon event is the number of non-museum members who join after getting acquainted with the museum.

Gulf Coast Museum of Art, 12211 Walsingham Road, Largo, 727-518-6833.

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