P.A. residents who always wanted to spend Halloween in New Orleans will finally get their chance next week -- in a manner of speaking.
© Herald photo by Matt Gardner
Mann Art Gallery registrar April Sutherland (left) and fundraising committee chair Donna McKeand Smith prepare for the Eternal Night Masquerade, which will take place at the Victoria Square Compounding Pharmacy on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.
The Mann Art Gallery has chosen a “haunted New Orleans” theme for its Eternal Night Masquerade, a major fundraiser organized in partnership with Moker & Thompson Implements manager Gord Thompson.
Proceeds from the event – scheduled to start at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26 at the Victoria Square Compounding Pharmacy -- will go towards funding children’s art education programming, outreach programs and other gallery initiatives.
“The gallery’s a not-for-profit organization, so they rely a lot on fundraising,” board fundraising committee chair Donna McKeand Smith said.
“I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but we have probably a couple of thousand kids come through a year with their schools,” registrar April Sutherland noted.
“They get a tour of the current show and then they get a hands-on project that they get to take away with them based on the show. So this (fundraiser) will help purchase materials, all kinds of things.”
The Eternal Night Masquerade will feature live music from classic rock band The Experienced as well as hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.
On Wednesday afternoon, McKeand Smith and Sutherland were busy preparing their location, a large open space in the pharmacy building.
The room on this occasion was draped in painted sheets depicting colourful building facades, which McKeand Smith had originally created for a different event.
The gallery’s chosen New Orleans theme was in part a way of putting those old materials to good use.
“They were going to have a Mardi Gras years ago and that’s why the sheets were all painted,” McKeand Smith said. “But it never came to be, so we thought it’s just a way of using them.”
They were going to have a Mardi Gras years ago and that’s why the sheets were all painted. Donna McKeand Smith
Pharmacy owner Roses Stewart helped the gallery save on other expenses by offering event organizers use of the large vacant space in her building.
“I’m really happy to do that with them,” Stewart said.
“It supports our community and encourages art. There’s a lot of healing that happens … when people are doing art, so I’m really thrilled that our medical building can be used for healing for sort of a different way than what we normally would look at -- massage therapy and physiotherapy and all the other therapies. There is art therapy and music therapy as well.”
A high point of the evening promises to be the contest for the best costumes.
Local potter Bonnie Bailey has donated prizes that will be awarded to the winners in each of four categories, including best costume, scariest costume, best homemade costume and best couple costume.
Given the event’s status as a “masquerade,” however, guests are not necessarily required to wear full costumes.
“For those who don’t want to, we’ll have masks for sale at a reasonable price at the door,” McKeand Smith said.
Tickets cost $50 in advance or $75 at the door and are available at the Mann Art Gallery, which may be reached by phone at (306) 763-7000.