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​Prom Night ‘97 at the Plains!

Arts | April 21st, 2022

By Sabrina Hornung

sabrina@hpr1.com

Plains Art Museum celebrates silver anniversary

1997 was a big year. The Spice Girls were the hottest thing since sliced bread, George Clooney was voted the sexiest man alive, we lost Princess Diana, and the Plains Art Museum that we know and love started its existence as a bastion of culture on the North Dakota landscape in its current space. This year marks 25 years of the Plains Art Museum, so in true fashion, the museum is hosting one heckuva silver anniversary party with a 1997 prom theme for this year’s gala.

The Plains Art Gala is the Plains Art Museum’s biggest fundraising event of the year and ensures free entry to the museum and assists with the museum’s programming and education opportunities.

Surely you can anticipate amazing food and drinks catered by Chef’s Table Cateringand Urban Foods Catering, desserts courtesy of Nichole’s Fine Pastry. One of the area’s largest wine tasting events courtesy of Happy Harry’s bottle shops. 90s tunes from Heart and Soul and what’s prom night circa 97 without a DJ? Star IV will be spinning some tracks as well.

Executive Director Andy Maus also assured us there were plenty of surprises that guests can anticipate. One of which includes video games from the 90s.

Let us not forget about the incredible art up for bid! Over 60 regional artists contributed pieces of art for the auction in a vast array of media, such as Gordon Coons’ “Cedar Smoke Spirit Dancer.” Coons is a largely self-taught fumage artist, meaning he uses burning cedar to create smoke art, creating a hauntingly beautiful image with traditional Ojibwe imagery and lore as inspiration. And then there are the functional slip-cast porcelain skull bowls and drinking vessels made from original sculptures by Ken and Michael Omundson,a father/son collaboration. Michael was the sculptor, Ken did the glazing, and together they cast.

The event poster was created by Amy Jo Hendrickson Flattum, who also has two serigraph prints up for bid, one of which features the iconic signage for Ralph’s Corner and Kirby’s bars in Moorhead. Flattum, an MSUM alumni, owns and operates the storefront studio Who Made Who, in Northeast Minneapolis.

This year’s selection process was a bit different. In fact, it was juried by Grand Forks artist Hillary Kempenich.

Naturally, in the 25 years of galas’ inception, there have been advancements in technology. During the first few years, employees did the majority of the decorating; now Livewire Entertainment handles the bulk of these tasks. Livewire is a professional event company based out of Fargo.

In galas past, bids for art were handwritten on paper hung next to the corresponding pieces in the gallery. Now the bidding process is all virtual. Though it was fun to see folks keeping a watchful eye on their pieces, with the new technology patrons won’t have to worry about losing their seat at their table as they bid.

Lastly, what to wear? Feel free to dress up or dress down, wear what makes you feel good. Some people dress in costume, some people dress to the nines. Plains Art Director and CEO Andy Maus mentioned that the Gala 1997 Prom was the same night as his son’s prom at Moorhead high school, so we couldn’t help but ask– will father and son get gussied up together? “He’s going to look better than me, after all, he’s doing it right!” he said.

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