Celebrate Mardi Gras with gold, gods and glitter

If you aren’t spending your Saturday night with gold, gods and glitter, you should rethink your schedule.

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is hosting its second annual masquerade ball fundraiser this weekend, and Adda Mihailescu said it will be a night to remember.

“We can expect an intriguing mix of decadence and elegance, beautiful music and creative costumes. The gods would approve.”

The Gold, Gods and Glitter Masquerade starts at 9 p.m. on Saturday at the gallery and runs until midnight. The event is happening three days before Mardi Gras, and the gallery is teaming up with the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design to develop divine decor worthy of a carnival-like celebration.

The masquerade is drawing inspiration from 18th century artist Joseph Mallord William Turner’s The Fountain of Indolence.

“It’s just a beautiful, light-filled classical scene with nymphs, gods, cherubs and goldfish,” said Mihailescu, the gallery’s art educator and manager of public programs, in a press release.

DJ Mizz Maxine will be providing the music and Fredericton-based Dragon-fly Photography Studio is capturing the event. There will be glittery face painting, an appearance by UNB drama students, and local artist Dana O’Regan’s interpretation of The Fountain of Indolence.

“If students can find the money, I definitely recommend it,” said third-year St. Thomas University student Amanda Jess, who attended last year’s masquerade. “It’s unlike anything they will go to. If [they] want a night where they get to feel like a classy grown-up, this is for them.”

Mihailescu said the idea of hosting a masquerade came from the desire to incorporate artwork into events in a big way.

“We needed a fun way to use key artwork in our collection for fun events and show young people that they can party in the best Mardi Gras style right inside the gallery.”

Mihailescu said they opt for a well-known work that looks like a party, and Turner’s was a perfect fit. She said The Fountain of Indolence makes people think of how the gods must spend their partying days.

Last year’s event was a celebration of the return of Salvador Dali’s works to the gallery. The Surreal Masquerade sold out and party-goers enjoyed local food, music and photography.

“It was a completely unique experience,” Jess said of last year’s event. “Some of the costumes were just unreal. I remember one girl looked like a human peacock while another was a moving tree.”

Along with the food – mini steaks, stuffed mushrooms and bruschetta – Jess said the music and entertainment was second-to-none.

“And then the chain dancer came out, which added to the mystery because it was completely unexpected. He was masked, almost naked and attached to chains as he moved his body seductively to Rihanna’s “S&M.””

Jess said she’s unable to go to this year’s masquerade because it’s out of her price range, but she encourages others to take part nonetheless.

“It makes me sad because I know it will be amazing.”

Tickets for the masquerade are $30 and can be purchased at the gallery front desk or online at www.beaverbrookartgallery.org. The event is 19+. The following day, Feb. 19, the gallery will be free of charge to celebrate Turner’s The Fountain of Indolence and many others in the collection.

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