"It's more about working the room than anything else," said board member Kerry McLaney. "Last time, the [woman] that won spent most of the time walking around the room making sure everyone knew about her project."
Equal parts philanthropic and dining club, the FEAST events are meant as forums where artists can mix, and mingle with local power brokers.
The night started off with some spoken word by MC and local bard Oscar Fuentes (AKA the Biscayne Poet).
As the dinners awaited the assortment of dishes to file out of the adjoining room, each finalist screened a short video presenting their ambitious plans for the cash prize. Artist Jonathan De Camps, writer and frequent New Times contributor Dana De Greff, sculptor Jayme Gershen, and Gustavo Oviedo competed for the top honors.
While the final bits of Pulitzer's gulab jamun, were dished out, last year's winner, Marie Whitman, spoke about the progress she's made with the much-needed funds. Her project brought poetry reading and writing courses to women's shelters across South Florida. The project, made possibly by the grant, is now expanding to Camillus House.
In the end, De Camps took home the loot, as his haunting images caught the eye of more than just a couple attendants. The photography series, entitled Ghost In America: Portraits of Undocumented Immigrants, catalogs undocumented immigrants posed with traditional Dia de los Muertos face paint.
"We've done about 27 portraits, we want to do 100, this money will help get us closer to our goal," De Camps told New Times.
FEAST is made possible through a Knight Foundation grant that funds two years worth of get-togethers. Up to now Pulitzer has prepared all the meals herself, but upcoming events will likely feature guest chefs from local eateries. FEAST 5 will take place at the South Miami Cultural Arts Center, for more information check out their website.