Black-and-white Ritz starts winter gala season

Do not adjust your peepers. If you go to the Pratt Museum’s fundraiser on Saturday, Black and White Ritz Cabaret Ball, and everything looks grayscale, no, you haven’t acquired dog eyes.

“Black and white” is the theme for the 31st annual gala fundraiser, starting at 6:30 p.m. at Wasabi’s Restaurant.

“Cabaret” also fits the venue, held for the fifth year in a row at the popular East End Road restaurant. With music by Karen Strid and Friends, and a menu of what Pratt Board of Directors President Sara Jackinsky calls “delectable edibles,” the entertainment will be up close and intimate.

“Use your imagination,” Jackinsky said of the theme.

As always, though, it’s a night to dress up, enjoy great food and drinks, and bid on original Alaska art or amazing adventures. Art can be previewed through Thursday from noon-5 p.m. at the museum, and then at 5 p.m. for First Friday at Wasabi’s.

The art selection includes work by emerging artists like Hailey Smith and Felicity Jones. Jones also has her first exhibit opening Friday at the Homer Council on the Arts. Rare works by several distinguished arts who have since died include pieces by Paula Dickey and Gaye Wolfe. Dickey became known for her watercolors, but Pratt patrons Jo and Peter Michalski have donated some earlier Dickey works. To be auctioned are a large fiber-art hanging and two photo negative collages. Bunnell Street Arts Center has donated a mixed-media piece by Wolfe.

The show includes pieces by many of the lower Kenai Peninsula’s distinguished artists, such as Asia Freeman, Lynn Marie Naden, Jim Buncak, Marjorie Scholl, Marion Beck, Carla Cope and Jane Regan. Argent Kvasnikoff has a standout work, “Tuggeht” (the Dena’ina name for the Homer area), a geographical abstract ink painting. Jim Miller has donated a carved bowl of black walnut with ivory insets.

Ritz goers also can bid on jewelry donated by Aurora Gems, Turid Senungetuk and Halibut Cove artist Jay Green. The Green piece comes as part of a package, a jewelry box crafted by Charlie Franz. Franz, also a board member, is the auctioneer for the live auction. Some items also will be sold in a silent auction.

“Live” doesn’t just mean the auction, but also art. Three surprise artists will do live painting at the Ritz, with the work to be auctioned off that night.

When the Pratt offers adventure items, it means adventure, like a four-day, three-night sailing trip with Sailwood Adventures out of Sadie Cove, bear viewing and fat bike rentals.

Another entertainment option is a year’s worth of dining out at local restaurants — 12 dinners for two worth about $1,200 total. Pamper yourself, too, with wellness and spa packages.

Jackinsky said there will be some interactive games, including a bidding contest on a selection of fine wines.

Rounding out the evening will be another surprise, too: the announcement of the Pratt Museum’s new director, replacing former director Diane Converse.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at




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