Masquerade ball takes a page from Venice's book

Laurie Grant
By Laurie Grant
March 12th, 2014

Gallery 2’s century old heritage building provided elegant surroundings for the 3rd Annual Masquerade Ball spring fundraiser on Sat. night. Over 80 ticketholders danced the night away to the rock n’ roll tunes of Mad Dog 20/ 20, a local band that plays the event every year. 

Tickets were $30 or a group of 10 for $275, including the masks. Even though they are good value, ticket sales were under expectations this year. “There are other things going on tonight,” offered Tina Bryan, communications officer for gallery 2. Also, due to illness, many tickets that had been sold did not get picked up.

The ball was themed on The Carnival of Venice, an annual festival held in Venice, Italy famed for its elaborate masks. Many patrons brought their own masks to match their costumes even though they were available at the door. The variety of masks was extensive, from elaborate metal masks and paper mache to those decorated with beads and feathers, glitter and paint. “The event offers something to add color to a drab time of year,” suggested Bryan.

While some costumes demonstrated a homemade flair, many of the costumes were purchased online.  “I bought my costume for $7 online right after Halloween when they go on sale,” remarked Jessica McDonald, dressed in a beautiful long gown that looked like it was made to order.

“Each year the costumes get more elaborate,” noted Bryan. Anna Lactin wore a stunning blue Cinderella-style gown that took up two-feet in circumference when she sat down. Marlene Wallenberg and her partner wore coordinated black and white attire. The men wore period pieces made from colorful fabrics and individual style-no two looked the same. The judges had a difficult time choosing from the colourful selection of dazzling costumes, but managed to award three prizes.

Court Jesters, the Gallery’s in-house catering provided both savory and sweet hors d’oeuvres. “It caters to a crowd who may not otherwise visit the art gallery,” suggested curator Ted Fogg. The Gallery’s staff offered an evening of fun that left many anticipating again next year. “Our debriefing meeting will determine if we hold it again,” said Bryan “but, I think we will.”

During the regular office hours, the gallery offers three exhibitions and a permanent collection, comprised of more than 250 works including paintings, prints, and sculptures by mainly British Columbian artists. “The gallery is becoming more interactive,” noted Fogg. He is hoping to do a follow-up panel discussion with the artists when they close on April 19 and will be posting notices.

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