Lunch & Learn with Alan Mothner – Culinary Dropout & Spruill Center for the Arts

by Audra H. Anders and Peggy Smith for The Aha! Connection

Our most recent Lunch and Learn was last week with Alan Mothner, the CEO of Spruill Center for the Arts.  I’ve known Alan for over 20 years and it was fun to catch up on a gorgeous sunny day at an outdoor table in the newest Ashford Lane restaurant: Culinary Dropout

We shared three delicious appetizers…Gochujang Brussel Sprouts, Marcona Almonds,  & Marinated Olives.  Our waitress could not confirm whether the sprouts were gluten free or not so I declined to partake but Peggy and Alan said they were amazing!

Gochujang Brussel Sprouts, Marcona Almonds, Marinated Olives

Here’s what we ordered for lunch:

We all loved our choices and really enjoyed the outdoor seating and the lovely people gathering area at Ashford Lane.

Here’s what we learned about:  Spruill Center for the Arts

Spruill completed a building expansion and renovation in January and although the new space is already being used, the official unveiling was held this past Saturday.  With its official unveiling, residents and businesses alike now have access to a versatile venue designed to accommodate a wide range of gatherings and celebrations.

Alan invited us to the ribbon cutting so I went and took lots of photos!

The new space includes new studios for:

  • blacksmithing
  • wheel throwing
  • glass
  • ceramic
  • wood (plan to open in the spring and by the way…they are looking for wood working instructors if you know of anyone email Alan!)
  • mixed media studios

One of my key takeaways…I want to take a knitting class…actually a workshop would probably work best for me.  Spruill offers classes (long term) or one time workshops.  They offer daytime classes and night classes.  Currently there are 60 instructors and over 1,900 attending classes per semester!   Everything fills up quickly so I’d better check the knitting calendar asap!

Another key takeaway…I need to figure out how to clear my calendar for the evening of March 23rd for the 38th Annual Artistic Affair.  Find out more here!  Last year 368 people attended with an additional 500 bidding online – they raised over $82K. 

Get your tickets before they sell out!  Tickets Include valet parking, open bar, food from The Village Restaurants (Bar{n}, Message in a Bottle & Morty’s), fortune tellers, illusionists, cigar and bourbon lounge, silent and live auction, live painting by Leslie Cannon and more.  You can bid on most items without being at the auction but there are several AMAZING live only auction items:  Golfers Paradise, Pappy van Winkle bourbon, an NFA private event and more!

One final takeaway is that in addition to the indoor space, the venue offers an open courtyard area complete with a full stage. This versatile outdoor space provides ample room for performances, presentations or simply enjoying the natural surroundings.  There is accessible food truck parking and dedicated lighting for both the stage and courtyard area, ensuring a seamless event experience.  You can park in the larger library parking lot and walk around back to see!

For more information about the Spruill Center for the Arts and the Spruill Gallery, please visit

Thanks Alan for joining us for lunch and inviting us to the ribbon cutting!

I have more pictures to share…..