At The Mission, artists both known and new have a home.
Jefferson City shines brightest when everyone comes together for the culture that runs through the core of the community. Every other Wednesday, at open mic night and Drink & Draw at The Mission, the talent powering that culture is on display.
The Mission owners Jenny Babcock and her husband, Tracy Blase, partner with Quentin Rice, of Q Entertainment, and Ryan Grosvenor to host open mic night as an opportunity for all ages, genres, and skill levels to take the stage to sing, play, act, and recite. Performers can sign up for 15-minute slots early via Facebook or claim a set-aside open slot as a walk-in. A guitar, keyboard, and drums are even available to borrow as needed.
“I’ve seen thousands of different performers come on to the stage and it’s always interesting,” Rice says. “Just the fact that they all have the guts to go up and perform is an incredible feat to accomplish.”
Rice has also seen friendships and even romantic relationships bloom during the special evenings.
“I’ve witnessed some wonderful artists grow together, grow on their own, and mature into great performers,” Rice says. “Some have made it successfully to a national award-winning level and are on the Billboard charts.”
Regulars and newbies alike are greeted like old friends and welcomed at the well-stocked bar for beer and cocktails. Patrons can also grab grub from next door at JQ’s on High and bring carryout back to The Mission.
The bar is housed in one of Jefferson City’s historic buildings. The structure dates back to the late 1800s, and its pine floors and stamped ceiling balance out an array of vintage band posters and musical heirlooms. The intimate environment means audience members are seated between performers and their supporters. It also means that nearly every seat is front row, and when performances get interactive (as many do), the crowd can toe-tap along to classics and never-before-heard original tracks with each other all night.
“It’s a place to just take a deep breath and just be nice to each other.”
“The Mission is my living room,” Babcock says. “I want people to feel that comfort level. You can get up and perform and there will be no judgment. There’s that encouragement level.”
In recent months, these performer-centric evenings have included another twist: interactive visual art, open to everyone.
Drink & Draw, named for its combination of creation and consumption, is staffed by Leann Porrello and Capital Arts. For those whose artistic flair is with a brush, art supplies are readily available to borrow and create a masterpiece. Markers, paint, draft paper, and canvases can be picked up, along with some examples for a little inspiration.
“It’s a great way to meet others with the same passion for the arts in Jefferson City,” Porrello says. “You can get more inspiration or collaborate with an artist who does a whole different type of art.”
And for Babcock, that unity is what it’s all about: “It’s a place to just take a deep breath and just be nice to each other.”