When Bellafare co-founder and creative director, Kristin Doggett, moved down the east coast from the Big Apple to South Carolina, she was immediately impressed with the rich community of creatives in the area. To celebrate her new discovery and to pay tribute to the city and its saturation of talented painters and makers, Kristin began hatching plans for the Artfully Inspired dinner in Charleston, S.C. Below, she welcomes us through the historic front doors of Gadsden House to peek in on the event, and also shares her thoughts behind Charleston and its reputation for creative innovation.
Can you give us some background on the Artfully Inspired dinner? Why, in particular, the celebration of food and emerging art in Charleston?
Upon moving to Charleston from New York City, I was immediately welcomed by a community of creatives who are constantly innovating. Everyone was talking about the food and art scene in Charleston, so I figured, what better time to host an event that combined both?
Why do you think Charleston has become such a hub for creative inspiration?
Like me, I think creatives today are craving a slower lifestyle within urban settings surrounded by like-minded individuals. Charleston is more approachable than cities like New York and San Francisco and has a unique culture that feels small enough to make an impact, yet big enough to be constantly inspired. Being situated 10 minutes from several beaches and accessible by other major east coast cities is another contributing factor.
Tell us about the vendors involved.
Prior to moving to Charleston, I put together a list of vendors and artists I was inspired by and wanted to collaborate with, including Hillary from The SoGood, whom I co-hosted the event with. Once the Artfully Inspired concept was finalized, I immediately started contacting my wish list of vendors knowing they could help bring my vision to life in the most artistic way possible. One of my favorite details were the hand-painted invitations by 42 Pressed, which matched the linens that Dorothy Shain hand splatter-painted.
What three words best describe the overall feel and tone of the dinner?
Modern, intimate and artistic.
Why was Gadsden House the ideal setting for the event?
The Gadsden House is a historic building that was refurbished by King Street Hospitality Group. I was instantly drawn to the venue’s clean, modern aesthetic that still maintained its historic integrity. In addition to the anticipation as one of Charleston’s newest event spaces, I felt the setting perfectly embodied the spirit of this new wave of creatives coming to Charleston that I had mentioned earlier, and how they enrich the history that is already present here.
How do you and your team at Bellafare manage to create seamless, stress-free events?
I think preparation is key. I was the student in college that made color-coded outlines prior to even beginning to study. While being an event planner requires the ability to think on your toes and adjust as necessary, the confidence you need to tackle an event of any scale stems from feeling prepared. For my team, this means triple checking, always clarifying and creating a system that is efficient and consistent for each event.
What was on the menu at the Artfully Inspired dinner?
We started with a local beet carpaccio salad designed around Way Way Allen’s bright geometric work. From there, the chef at Salthouse Catering prepared a roasted cauliflower and kale soup inspired by Dorothy Shain’s paintings. The entrée was local tuna with fresh herbs and sweet potato strings that looked like a scene from Teil Duncan’s beach collection. Lastly, guests dined on Almond Dacquoise with Blueberry Bavarian from Twenty Six Divine, which emulated Kate Long Stevenson’s stunning abstract art on display that evening.
What are your tips for networking at business events?
Work the room, don’t be shy and always carry business cards. I do my best to understand and live the brand I’ve created in every way, whether it’s my wardrobe or social media. As the new girl, I wanted to create a platform where I could surround myself with creatives with whom I hope to collaborate, while also showcasing the abilities of Bellafare to those attending. It’s one thing to talk about your work, but it’s another to invite those you admire to experience it.
How can our readers live an “artfully inspired” lifestyle in their own homes?
Thoughtfully curate your home and think outside the box. For the event, I hand-selected the various chargers, flatware and glassware to create my own design, rather than relying on something more expected. My husband is a photographer, which allows us to travel often and bring back treasures to layer into our home. Our color scheme is mostly monochromatic and clean-lined, but each room takes on its own personality with the pieces that are unique to our experiences. In our living room, we have a white cowhide lasso that we brought home from Argentina that I love. It brings in an unexpected cultural element, but stays true to our aesthetic.