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Monday March 20th

Ackland Art Museum to host fundraising gala

The Black & White Gala aims to attract students and increase donations.

Debuted with the wild style of Andy Warhol last November, the Ackland Art Museum’s benefit gala is returning with a more classic — and student-friendly — theme.

The Black & White Gala, Ackland’s main 2011 fundraiser, will take place at the museum on Sept. 24.

Attend the Black & White Gala

Saturday, Sept. 24 at the Ackland Art Museum
Student tickets are $15 for the 9:30 p.m. after party
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

During a universally bad budget year, the Ackland is in need of financial support, museum director Emily Kass said.

Last year’s Silver Factory Gala was designed as a three-tiered party, with ticket prices ranging from $25 for student admission to The Love Language’s late-night concert to more than $500.

The whole event cost the Ackland about $35,000, including rental space, catering and music, and brought in about $55,000 — a profit of $20,000.

“We wouldn’t have even made that much that year except for a handful of generous donors who gave at the last minute,” said Amanda Hughes, director of external affairs for the Ackland.

But for the first year, Hughes said a $20,000 profit was not bad.

“The first thing you have to have are friends,” she said. “The funds come from that.”

She said she hopes this year to reverse cost and profit numbers, but estimated costs were not available.

September’s benefit pricing is tiered like last year’s, but late-night concert tickets are only $15 this time around.

Diana Poulimenos, president of the Student Friends of the Ackland, said that this is part of an attempt to attract more students to the after-party, which will feature a DJ and a house band.

Unlike last year’s event — which took place partly at Top of the Hill’s Back Bar and partly at the Ackland — the Black & White Gala will be solely on museum property.

Galleries will be open for hors d’oeuvres and quieter entertainment, while a tent set up in the Swain lot behind the building will be the main hub for eating and dancing, Hughes said.

The tent was an idea brought on by the largely volunteer planning staff, Hughes said.

Though keeping the event at the museum saved a bit of money, Hughes said it was not the main purpose.

Kass said it helps keep the museum central to the event.
“We wanted to keep museum as focus of activity,” she said.

The black and white theme is also partly an attempt to keep the focus on the artwork, Poulimenos said.

“Black and white is simple,” she said. “It helps to highlight the art.”

Hughes said that the idea came from Truman Capote’s 1966 Black and White Ball — an exclusive event held at New York City’s Plaza Hotel celebrating the release of his novel “In Cold Blood.”

The black and white theme had been proposed for last November’s gala, but Kass said the opportunity to celebrate the Warhol exhibits was too tempting to pass up.

This year, the museum is celebrating its donors and history with an appearance by an actor playing William Hayes Ackland, the museum’s benefactor.

“I had such a great time last year at what was a great party,” Hughes said.

“We’re just a bunch of people who like to have fun.”

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