Marvelous masks are in fashion for the Columbus Arts Council’s 34th annual gala and auction at Trotter Convention Center Friday, Feb. 16. The nonprofit organization’s masquerade ball will honor Trudy Gildea, whose dedication to the cultural vibrancy of Columbus and the Golden Triangle encompasses founding the Suzuki Strings program and longtime support of the arts council and its programs.
“This year’s gala is very special in that we are honoring the tireless work and forward vision of Trudy Gildea,” said Jerry Fortenberry, CAC board president. “We thank Trudy for all that she does for our community, and especially for the Columbus Arts Council and Suzuki Strings.”
Members of the Suzuki Strings Advanced Ensemble will provide music for part of the gala, which also includes silent and live auctions, heavy hors d’oeuvres by Marty Wages, an open bar and dancing to music by Gerod Ellis (DJ Silk).
“We promote a fun-filled evening,” said event chair Qua Austin. “This is an opportunity to dress up in elegant attire or costumes for a good cause.”
Up for bid
A silent auction from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and live auction called by auctioneer Dodie Colvin at 8 p.m. offer a variety of adventures, original art, decorative items and specialties such as a Dallas Cowboys football signed by Dak Prescott and a basketball autographed by Mississippi State Women’s Basketball Coach Vic Schaefer.
“We have a one-hour pleasure flight for three in a Cessna 182 airplane originally owned by Sam Walton, skeet shooting at Prairie Wildlife and even an Adventure of the Beehive outing, among many other items,” Austin said.
Raffle tickets are also available for a quilt donated by the Possum Town Quilters as well as a Mississippi Gift Basket and a barbecue grill.
The evening’s proceeds help continue arts programming and education throughout the year.
“Funds raised through our annual gala allow us to continue to make positive impacts in the community, in particular areas of Columbus and Lowndes County that have limited access to the arts,” said Lynn Brown, CAC executive director. Active stakeholders in the arts council can, for example, become “stars” for children who get the opportunity to express their feelings in an art therapy class, Brown continued. “We want the community to join us in this endeavor and all of us make a difference together.”
Fortenberry noted the arts council has begun participation in “Love the Block,” a program that entails taking art projects into the community.
“We are especially focused on serving underprivileged children,” he said. “The arts council also wants to be able to continue to bring world-class entertainment to the Golden Triangle as we did in 2017 with many events, notably the Vienna Boys Choir.”
CAC supporter Ralph Null said, “A community either supports its art and culture, or it disappears. The gala is a fun way to come together for an enjoyable event and, at the same time, help financially support and assure we maintain a strong and viable art presence in Columbus.”
How to go
Tickets are $75, or $650 for tables for eight. An open bar beginning at 5:30 p.m. and heavy hors d’oeuvres at 6:15 p.m. will be followed by the live auction at 8 p.m. and dancing at 9 p.m. Colin Krieger will act as emcee. Attire is black tie optional. Masquerade masks or costumes are encouraged.
Get tickets by Feb. 8 at columbus-arts.org, at the Rosenzweig Arts Center at 501 Main St. (closed Mondays), or by calling 662-328-2787.
“Come on out and help us meet our goal while having a fabulous time,” said Fortenberry.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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