The annual Beaux Arts Black & White Masquerade Ball is a longstanding tradition for the Ink People Center for the Arts, a dress-up party in celebration of the arts in general, and of course a fundraiser, since all arts organizations need funds to do what they do.
This Inkers tradition references a couple of other older traditions: the masquerade ball and "L‘Ecole des Beaux-Arts" a French college for the fine arts known originally as "Académie des Beaux-Arts" when it was founded in 1648. The best painters, sculptors, engravers and architects in the country were invited to study at the campus across the river from the Louvre. It was prestigious to say the least. Students and grads ended up designing and decorating palaces and homes for the upper crust.
While masks and costumes have been around still time immemorial as part of all sorts of ancient rituals, the classic masquerade ball is another upper crusty thing. It reached its high point with super-fancy dress-up balls in the royal courts of Europe, in particular during the Renaissance with Venetian Carnival balls. (You still find souvenir masks in every tourist trap in Venice.)
Of course the Ink People Center for the Arts is the opposite of an upper crust elitist organization. You'd be hard pressed to find a more egalitarian bunch of artists and arts administrators. Especially with the DreamMaker programs, they support and facilitate arts-related work on all levels. They've been successfully "weaving the arts into the fabric of community" since 1979.
The ball also marks the Inkers 31st birthday, so party on. The black and white part means it's a "holiday from color," as they put it. Black and/or white attire is mandatory be it dressy, casual or wild costume. Bellydancers from Mosaic Productions will be shaking things this way and that and there's a circus of sorts with jugglers, stilt walkers, hula hoopers and aerial artist Jocelyn Rudig up in the rafters.
Music will fill the air: piano man Anthony Mankins and The Jazz Prophets play it cool, DJ Support Somali Pirates offers something to make you dance. When the big ska band Killbot Factory gets you hot quench your thirst at the Inky Fingers Bar.
The Ink People's Beaux Arts Black and White Masquerade Ball takes place Saturday, Oct. 16, from 8 p.m. until midnight at Redwood Raks World Dance Studio in the Old Creamery Building at 9th and L sts. in Arcata. Admission is $10 at the door. Tickets are available in advance at current Ink People Headquarters at 517 3rd St., upstairs in Suite 36a in Old Town Eureka. (That's their temporary home, but that's a story for another day.) For further information, contact The Ink People at 442-8413 or go to www.inkpeople.org.