A gothic good time

Prime Time Party Rental Series’ Renaissance Ball at DAI

By Deon Jefferson

 Photo: Join her royal highness at The Renaissance Ball at the Dayton Art Institute on Nov. 15; photo: Alexis Brown

In 2013, we experienced a vast amount of advancements with technology like the iPhone 5, and the re-launch of Myspace. Before we say goodbye to 2013, however, we should pay homage to an era that brought us the printing press and the microscope – the Renaissance. The Dayton Art Institute [DAI], in conjunction with the Ohio Renaissance Festival, will be throwing The Renaissance Ball on Friday, Nov. 15, at 8 p.m. in the Shaw Gothic Cloister, located in the DAI. The ball will be the last party this year for their Prime Time Party Series. This year, Primetime has already wowed Dayton audiences by taking them “down the yellow brick road” with the Wizard of Oz party, in addition to traveling to the funkiest place on Earth with their Studio 54 party. The goal of the Primetime parties is to bring people together by creating parties that are pop culture inspired by art.

“The Renaissance Ball is a great analogy for what happens during any museum visit – you are transported to another time and place, but interact through the filter of your own world view,” Dayton Art Institute Director Michael Roediger said.

“When you come to a Prime Time Party it is more social, but you are still looking and learning. They are both great experiences,” Associate Director Jane Black explained. “We are seeing more and more that these parties are connecting to what is happening in the museum and introducing people to special exhibitions and the permanent collections. It is exciting to see people take time from the party to go explore the galleries. Many attendees have become members and are returning to the museum on a more regular basis.”

The Renaissance Ball will celebrate the recent premier of two special exhibits, Object of Devotion, Medieval English alabaster sculpture from the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the works of sculptor Elizabeth Turk. Object of Devotion will feature sixty beautifully carved devotional alabaster panels and free-standing figures from the most distinguished collection of these types of objects in the world. These amazing works of art were originally displayed in the homes, chapels and churches of both aristocratic and non-aristocratic Christians from the late-14th to the 16th centuries. The Elizabeth Turk: Wings exhibit will showcase contemporary marble sculpted wings. Her artwork was conceived on the eve of the millennium and they were carved from remnants of marble blocks cut from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Together, these wings are phenomenal examples of skill and reflect artists thinking passionately about our place in the universe.

DAI Special Events Coordinator Julie Cannon spoke highly of the collection: “These pieces of art aren’t just displayed regularly, and there is a whole theatrical production that’s associated with the display. We worked with a stage company so that you can really get a feel for an old medieval church.”

Dayton Art Institute Marketing and Communications Manager Eric Brockman explained: “These are probably some of the best representations of medieval alabaster sculptures in the world. If you go to other museums around the United States, you may not see the full collection, but to see 60 of them in one exhibit is really neat”

Both exhibits will be open for viewing during the party.

Historically, the Renaissance is one of the most creative periods, so it makes sense for Prime Time to pull out all stops for this spectacular ball.

“You can expect a very baroque-type atmosphere – linens, hammered metal décor and so many other great surprises,” said Cannon. Costumes are not required, but they are encouraged. How will you dress for the ball? The ideas for outfits are endless. Leather gloves, medieval hats, cloaks, capes or corsets. This event will allow you to embrace your inner Renaissance man or woman.

One of the highlights of this artistically fun party will be the entertainment. Performers from The Ohio Renaissance Festival will be on hand from 8–10 p.m., including a Queen and her court, wondering minstrels and various nobles. Lift Off Entertainment will supply dance music with DJ Jay, along with a photo booth that allows partygoers an instant picture. The Renaissance Ball will sure to bring out your fun side, right in time for the upcoming holiday season. Heidelberg will be on hand to provide the adult beverages, while Elite Catering will prepare the delicious 16th century-inspired food.

Known as an era of  “rebirth” throughout Europe, the Renaissance Ball dares you to bring back artisans like Michelangelo or the genius Galileo. It’s not every day that we get to relive the Renaissance period so put on your fanciest garbs and party like its 1499!

Prime Time Party Rental Series presents the Renaissance Ball on Friday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. in the Shaw Gothic Cloister of the The Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park North. For more information, including tickets, please call 937.223.4ART or visit daytonartinstitute.org. 

 Reach DCP freelance writer Deon Jefferson at DeonJefferson@DaytonCityPaper.com.


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