Nicole Czapinski of Casey Droege Cultural Productions Speaks About Season 8 of SIX x ATE

Photo credit: Mike Weber

Casey Droege Cultural Productions is set to host its eighth season of the SIX x ATE series. The series features six artists, one chef, and yourself. The audience will have the privilege to enjoy brief presentations from the artists themselves and eat a meal from the chefs. Local was fortunate to speak with Nicole Czapinski, the project manager, about the upcoming season. 

  1. Can you tell me about the upcoming SIX X ATE event?
Photo credit: Mike Weber

SIX x ATE is a roving art and dinner lecture series that takes place in and around Pittsburgh. Each themed dinner event invites the audience to enjoy five-minute presentations from six artists and a meal from one local chef. This year the theme is directional (north, south, east, west) and we’re hosting four events between August and December.

SIX x ATE: South will kick off the season at the Brew House in the South Side on Tuesday, August 20th. The event will feature past and present artists who have participated in the Distillery Program which is a yearlong studio residency for emerging artists. They’ll use their 5 minutes to talk about their art with slides, or a performance, or with some participatory activity! Doors open at 6:30 and tickets will go on sale one month prior to the event on July 20th.

  1. Why did you decide on these particular artists and chefs? Are they all local?
Logo Design by Christina Lee

We often do an open call for our season, but this year we are partnering with specific organizations to feature their artists. In working with the Brew House we wanted to showcase artists who have gone through the Distillery program. Everyone who participates usually lives within 90 miles of Pittsburgh.

In the past, we usually showcase artists within the region, unless we’re traveling. We have taken SIX x ATE on the road, hosting events in places like Ohio or California. In those cases, we showcase artists local to the area.

  1. How is this season different compared to others?

In addition to four amazing events this season, we’re also hosting VIP happy hours prior to each event. With a VIP pass, guests receive early access, an additional drink ticket, and the opportunity to chat with our presenting artists in a more intimate setting. These events can hold up to 100 people and usually sell out, so it’s a great opportunity to spend some quality time before the main event. VIP level support also allows us to continue to offer free and discounted tickets to those who can’t afford to attend, which is critical in delivering accessible art experiences.

  1. What do you hope those who purchase a ticket get out of this experience?

There are no formal Q&A’s or long-winded introductions, so guests spend most of the evening talking informally while eating and drinking. This relaxed environment encourages real connections, spurring future collaborations and forging new friendships. It’s a great chance to not only meet the artists involved but to meet other folks within the area who share a passion for the arts.

  1. Why has SIX X ATE had such a great success in the past?
Photo credit: Mike Weber

It’s grown enormously over the last seven years because we’ve managed to create a truly unique atmosphere. It’s welcoming, it’s experimental, it’s weird, and most of all it’s delicious! We offer multiple ticket prices to ensure accessibility and affordability. This allows us to have a really wide range of people attend the events, which not only makes for a great time but makes for a great community.

  1. Are there any future plans for SIX X ATE?

Now entering its eighth year, SIX x ATE continues to connect Pittsburgh artists with collaborators and patrons through art, food, and conversation. We’re always looking for new venues, partners, and artists. As the season kicks off, we’ll be planning next year already. Should we host one on a boat? In a cave? On a bridge? We encourage everyone to grab their ticket and attend one this year, then let us know if you’ve got an idea for a space or partnership that would make for a truly unique evening! Each year we host over 500 attendees, with most events selling out. We hope to continue the streak!