Pancakes & Booze: Traveling art show set for Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre

Pancakes & Booze art shows travel the country — a pop-up art show with 50 to 100 local artists. The art show tour, seen here in Washington, DC, returns to Raleigh's Lincoln Theater May 31.Bunny Mast

Pancakes, beer and art: It’s the combination you didn’t know you needed.

You can get your fill of all three at the Pancakes & Booze art show at Lincoln Theatre on Thursday, May 31.

Pancakes & Booze art shows happen all over the world, from Portland, Ore., to Atlanta to Toronto.

“It’s a large pop-up art show with anywhere from 50 to 100 local artists who do everything from mixed media to performance art,” said founder Tom Kirlin. “It’s not like a wine-and-cheese thing. It’s not like a stuffy gallery.”

Kirlin used to joke about opening a pancake bar/restaurant, though what he ended up with might be even better.

The 21-and-older art shows, inspired by the trips to IHOP Kirlin took with college friends after a night out, started while he was working in film in Los Angeles. He wanted to make a little extra cash with warehouse space he had rented that was sitting empty.

“We started with 50 to 100 people, and by the end of a year of doing it once a month we were packing out with 500 to 600 people,” Kirlin said.

He knew he had hit on something.

Arizona native Kirlin is not an artist himself, but he’s been able to help artists get their pieces in front of potential buyers since 2009. Pancakes & Booze art shows help emerging artists gain exposure by bypassing the gallery route.

Pieces at Pancakes & Booze shows can cost anywhere from $50 to $1,000, Kirlin said.

Now he and his two staff members plan Pancakes & Booze shows year-round, bouncing from location to location like Memphis, New Orleans, Chicago and more. The Raleigh one will have about 60 artists with live body painting and a free pancake bar.

Painter Hunter Wells will have her work on display at the Raleigh Pancakes & Booze show. She lives in Kernersville, between Winston-Salem and Greensboro, and is excited to be showing her work at her third Pancakes & Booze show.

“It’s a really cool event,” she said. “There are a lot of awesome artists that I know are going to participate, so there’s going to be a lot to see.”

Wells first participated in a Honolulu Pancakes & Booze a few years ago while she was a student at Hawaii Pacific University.

“I lived in Hawaii for four years and never got tired of it,” Wells said. “I travel there any chance I get.”

Her love of Hawaii influences her art, which is full of brightly colored sunsets, serene seascapes and marine life.

“I just finished working on a sea turtle painting (for Pancakes & Booze),” she said. “A lot of people really like the turtles.”

Helping artists connect with people who will love their work in a fun environment is what the event is all about.

“We’re excited to be coming back to Raleigh,” Kirlin said. “We’ve been doing a show here once every six months for the last couple of years. It’s a really cool, cultured city that I feel often gets overlooked.”

The Pancakes & Booze Art Show

Where: Lincoln Theatre, 126 E. Cabarrus St., Raleigh
When: 7 p.m. May 31
Cost: Tickets are $12 in advance through Eventbrite or $10 at the door. The event is open only to those 21 and older.


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