Groovy gala to mark 40th anniversary of art show at the library

Kristin Benson and Connie Deans are friends, Art Show Party co-chairs, and for at least one night, 70s hipsters at the art show’s 40th anniversary gala event, set for Friday, Nov. 30, from 7 to 10 p.m. — Mary Ann Carmen photo

“Where Were You in ’72?”

The riddle comes wrapped in psychedelic colors, and inside, an invitation to the Mark Twain Library Art Show Opening Night Gala. The library is celebrating 40 years of annual art show fund-raisers. This year’s gala takes a look back in time — all the way to the inaugural art show of 1972 — for its party inspiration and theme.

“Invitations to the art show’s opening night party were sent out the week before Hurricane Sandy,” said co-chair Kristin Benson. “Its bright colors and theme, ‘Where Were You in ’72?,’ sets the stage for an opening night event we are calling the ‘Groovy Gala.’”

“We are encouraging people to search their closets, and to come in attire that is creative and in the spirit of the 70s,” added Connie Deans, party co-chair.

The art show is one of four annual fund-raising events for the library, and the Opening Night Gala is an important part of this effort. One of the unique offerings at the gala is the Silent Auction, held in the Mark Twain Room, where partygoers make friendly bids with their Redding neighbors in support of their public library.

The juried Art Show and Sale is held during regular library hours for an additional nine days following the Opening Gala, from Saturday, Dec. 1, through Sunday, Dec. 9. Those who attend the Opening Night Gala on Friday, Nov. 30, however, get first dibs on the art for sale, which includes framed pieces hung in gallery fashion, as well as artists’ portfolios of unframed art.

The co-chairs also note that Nov. 30 is an auspicious date for the gala, since Mark Twain was born on this day in 1835. “The two celebrations happen to coincide this year,” said Ms. Deans.

“Barbara at Confetti of Georgetown is doing the decor, so you’ll know where you are when you walk into the library that night, and it won’t be 2012, but 1972. We should all feel a little bit younger for it!”

The food, provided by husband and wife team Reed Collyer and Mark Sharon, will include a few culinary favorites from that time. Music will be provided by pianist Mark Hinkley.

“A quick look at the hits of 1972 reveal that they still make for a great song list on an iPod 40 years later,” said Ms. Benson. “The music from that period is amazing.”

“Besides the creative decor, entertaining pianist, and our talented catering team, we are extremely grateful to Meadow Ridge for donating the Champagne and wine for the gala, provided from Georgetown Package Store,” said Ms. Benson.

All current “Friends of the Library,” those who have made a financial contribution to the library in the past year, were mailed invitations. If you did not receive one, and would like to attend the gala, contact the library at 203-938-2545.

So, the obvious question is where were Ms. Benson and Ms. Deans in ’72? They claim they were watching films like The Godfather, and listening to what many consider to be a Golden Age in music. Come to the Mark Twain Library Groovy Gala on Friday, Nov. 30, to indulge in a little time travel with them and enjoy viewing art in support of Redding’s public library.

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