It is a no secret that New York City, Montreal and Boston all have their share of famous restaurants, theaters and entertainment hotspots, but what some people don’t realize is that those same very things can be found right here in our own backyard.
IF YOU GO
• What: Wine & Dine for the Arts
• When: Jan. 16-18
• Where: Various venues in Downtown Albany
• How much: $10-$150
• Info: www.albanywinefes...
“The talent that we have here in Albany is often overshadowed simply because of our geographic location, wedged between Montreal, Boston and New York city,” said Donna Purnomo, founding member of Wine and Dine for the Arts. “Despite Albany being the capital, we get pushed aside as far as a presence in the grand scheme.”
Purnomo, who is married to Chef Yono Purnomo of Yono’s in Albany, considers herself somewhat of a theater geek.
“You can’t say a bad thing about the arts,” Purnomo said. “The only thing is the funding, so we wanted to fill the gaps.”
It was for this reason that in 2010, she and her husband threw around the idea of bringing Albany area chefs together for an event to raise money for the arts.
Purnomo describes her husband, Yono, as a “dreamer.”
“He has great ideas and wants to help and give back to the community,” she said, “and he is good at surrounding himself with wonderful people bearing talent that could bring this into fruition.”
They began by approaching the general manager at the Crowne Plaza in Albany.
“He said, ‘OK, we will give it a try,’ and we brought other people on board – all volunteer.” Purnomo said. “The first year we thought, worst case scenario, we would all throw in a grand for Capital Rep, but we gave Capital Rep a check for around $40,000.”