Pity the poor Artrageous party planners.

Every year, for 22 years now, these men and women have had to come up  with a theme that’s different than the year before, but will still please crowds, and fit the budget and a whole host of other requirements.

Every year they rise to the challenge, and 2009 is no different.

This year’s event, “Artrageous 22: Sweet Imagination,” will take a sharp right turn on Saturday, Nov. 14, from last year’s Roaring ‘20s theme of glamor, and will dive into the kid-friendly, richly colored world of Willy Wonka. While  the venue, Limelight, remains the same. Very little else will be  duplicated, says Todd Grantham, co-chair.

“We’re creating a really fun, childlike venue,” Grantham said. “All the art venues are on board with the idea, so they’ll have theme drinks based around candy, and we’ll be creating new ones with Absolut, our presenting sponsor this year.”

The annual theme is a big selling point for Artrageous, and Grantham and co-chair Wes Aull admit that trying to be as inventive as the last few years while putting their own stamp on the project was a challenge.

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Click here to download the PDF of our December edition including a map of all participating art galleries.

View a full list of the galleries in the related story below.

“It seems as though the event has evolved over the years in terms of the focus being on the venue, then being on the entertainment, then  being on the size of the party,” said Aull, a Boston transplant who  relocated to Nashville two years ago. “Since we were working with the  same space as last year, we wanted to build on the success we had there but also create a whole new experience. When Todd and I began  talking, we quickly though about something that would be more  childlike, really use people’s imagination and sense of wonder.”

Hitting the classics, the two and their fellow planners considered  everything from Alice in Wonderland to Peter Pan before settling on  Willy Wonka, and that choice came about in large part because of both  a large color palette based on the film as well as its appeal to both the young and young at heart.

“The chocolate factory in the movie was amazing; when they were in the  nerve center everything was there from the flowing chocolate river to all the candy and other things,” Grantham said. “That’s the type of feeling we’re going for the minute people step inside.”

And while the event is meant to dazzle, it’s also meant to educate and hopes to do so, added Aull.

“The event is a lot of fun, but it also raises awareness about  Nashville Cares and what they do,” he said. “I know when I moved here I loosely knew about them and their services, but Artrageous was a chance for me to learn more about them, and why their work is so  important. We want to make sure we do that as well as have a lot of fun with our quirky, inventive theme.”

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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