An Artful Fête

Art, food and spirited conversation spark a casual evening at the Corbin Firehouse.

Story by Kimberly Stern  |  Photos by Jason Dailey

It’s a beautiful thing when beloved Kansas City artist and sculptor Tom Corbin steps from his studio, situated on the lower level of a historic 1912 Southwest Boulevard building, to enjoy cocktails and dinner with friends. And on a recent balmy fall evening he did just that.

From sipping Susie Corbin’s signature dark rum and ginger beer Barracudas in the garden courtyard dotted with her husband’s acclaimed sculptures to a cozy dining room filled with his art (including the life-sized bronze dog named Buddy who appears to beg at his master’s feet) and intriguing paintings, guests indulged in dinner by James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Smith and engaged in topics ranging from the building’s history (it was first a firehouse) to the provenance of Corbin’s creations. The artist debuted new work, adorning the table here, much to guests’ delight.

The Hosts & Chefs

Eleven guests reveled in a mid-October soiree hosted by the Corbins where art and food were the evening’s stars.

Interior designer Tim Butt and Susie Corbin savor the first course while chatting.

Michael Smith’s Chef de Cuisine Daniel Ehrhard and Chef Smith put finishing touches on the third course in the kitchen.

The Guest List

The evening’s guests included some of Kansas City’s best-known creatives and art lovers, including TranSystems Corporation CIO Kanon Cozad. At the table, Rachael Cozad of Rachael Cozad Fine Art and Kanon chat with Corbin.

Creative gypsy Kim Stearns pauses between courses.

Tracy Stearns, regional leader of hospitality at 360 Architecture, enjoys the evening in the sculpture courtyard; the Cozads join in lively dinner conversation.

Interior designer Renee Grissom of Renee Grissom Design savors the evening’s ambience against a backdrop of Corbin’s captivating acrylic painting, “Emily with Cupcake.”

United States Attorney, District of Kansas Barry Grissom shares a joke.

Courtyard Cocktails

Artful Fête guests gathered at dusk on a spectacular Kansas City fall evening at the Corbin Firehouse. The elegant “Aurora VI” sculpture, depicting one of Corbin’s best-known themes, is illuminated by the fire.

Appetizers included steak tartare crostini and boudin blanc skewers by Michael Smith.

Boudin blanc skewers

Steak tartare crostini

On the Menu

Chefs Smith and Ehrhard designed a colorful four-course menu to complement the vibrant surroundings, including tuna ceviche; a beet and plum salad; Turkish tea-scented duck breast; and sweet potato cake, spiced marshmallow, brown sugar ice cream and date pecans.

Tuna ceviche

Beet and plum salad

Turkish tea-scented duck breast

Sweet potato cake

Gallery Dinner

The Corbin Firehouse, a light-filled gallery by day, transformed into a dramatic setting for Van Luchene’s culinary-and-art auction treasure. “Madalena,” an acrylic on canvas.

Chef Smith, who was tending to an NFL fundraiser at his restaurant in the Crossroads Arts District, made a surprise cameo appearance with wife Nancy to talk about the menu’s inspiration.