By Alicia Underlee Nelson
The Spring Gala at the Plains Art Museum returns May 6. This annual fundraiser and silent art auction benefits museum programming, so it’s a very worthy cause. But the Spring Gala is also a scene, a vibe, a whole mood. The wonder, the revelry, the tiny touches of delicious, laugh-out-loud novelty keep people coming back for more, year after year.
It is the kind of party where couture and cosplay are equally appreciated, where aerialists twirl and creatives from all walks of life mingle on the dance floor, nibbling hors d’oeuvres from Chef’s Table and Urban Foods Catering as they circulate in a swirl of silk and flashing sequins.
There’s a wine tasting from Happy Harry’s Bottle Shops, an array of decadent treats from Nichole’s Fine Pastry & Café, and more than a few surprises in store along the way.
This year’s bash features a performance from Star IV and the funk/soul/bluesy pop rock stylings of Mae Simpson, a seven-piece band out of Minneapolis making its Spring Gala debut. Livewire sets the scene with immersive, atmospheric lighting and effects that transform the museum into something lifted from a dream.
That dream is the result of lots of work behind the scenes. We caught up with Andy Maus, Director and CEO of the Plains Art Museum, to learn a little more about this year’s event.
High Plains Reader: This event has a very different vibe than most fundraisers. What makes the atmosphere at the Gala so unique?
Andy Maus: The Spring Gala is a party. There is no program or a sit-down dinner like many other charity galas. People make the event theirs, and I think that is why it is so popular.
HPR: How is each year's theme chosen?
AM: We have a Gala Steering Committee with some amazing, creative people including some of our team, Gala Co-Chairs, the Livewire team, and volunteers. One of the first tasks each year is to consider theme options. This one (Wonderland) emerged pretty quickly—after a couple of meetings—and it stuck.
HPR: How will this year's theme be showcased throughout the museum?
AM: We will have many wonderlands throughout the Museum. The super talented people at Livewire have some great plans to help make that happen and we also have a surprise performance planned. It will be wonderful—literally!
HPR: What’s the most common question you get about the gala?
AM: What should I wear?
HPR: People start planning their outfits as soon as the theme is announced, so that makes sense. That said, do you have any tips about what to wear this year?
AM: Each year, there are people who dress in costumes for the theme. The most obvious idea is “Alice in Wonderland,” but any wonderful costume will do. And then, there are always many people who just dress in whatever they like for a nice night Downtown. Overall, people just wear whatever makes them feel good, so it need not be a stressful decision.
HPR: What’s the question that you wish people would ask?
AM: What does the Spring Gala support? The Spring Gala supports PlainsArt4All to sustain free general admission and our educational programs.
HPR: Which pieces in the art auction are you especially excited about?
AM: We have a much larger art auction this year, reflective of a record number of submissions. I think we have about 100 pieces that were chosen by this year's juror, Britta Anderson.
We also have a surprise artwork by Star Wallowing Bull, commissioned by Brian Hayer for the event. It's so new that I haven't seen that piece yet either, so I would say revealing that will be really exciting.
There will be many surprising artworks this year, and by artists that may be new to people. In fact, I too am learning new artists from this year's auction. It's a really great selection. People can bid on artworks starting April 28 through a portal on our website, which is plainsart.org.”
IF YOU GO
Spring Gala: Wonderland
Saturday, May 6, 7pm–midnight
Plains Art Museum, 704 1st Ave N, Fargo
Tickets $125 ($150 after April 22)
Discounts for members
July 25th 2023
July 16th 2023
June 27th 2023
May 20th 2023
May 12th 2023
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