• Pratt Museum celebrates 28 years of “Putting on the Ritz”
By Christina Whiting
Walk into Wasabi’s Restaurant this Saturday, and you’ll step back in time to a period when peace, prosperity and the arts flourished near Paris. It’s all part of the Pratt Museum’s 28th year of “Putting on the Ritz;” this time, with a Moulin Rouge flair.
Refreshments, entertainment and both a live and silent auction of artwork welcomes guests to the annual Art and Experience Auction fundraiser.
“In the 1800s, the village of Montmartre near Paris was the center of the Bohemian world,” said Pratt Museum Development Director Michelle Miller. “Here, musicians, painters and writers lived and focused on truth, beauty, love and freedom. This year’s event will recreate the feeling of that time and place.”
Guests will enjoy a full bar, and dine on cuisine with a French flair. The menu will include chicken liver pate with truffles, smoked salmon with olives, eggs, capers, tomatoes and chevre, venison sausage with sundried tomato and artichoke hearts, duck confit with blueberry balsamic sauce, roasted potatoes with rosemary and green beans with garlic butter.
In addition, halibut amandine with brussel sprouts and roasted beets will be served, along with Portobello mushrooms grilled with sundried tomatoes and brie. Fruit, cheese and chocolate mousse will also be offered.
The Moulin Rouge Diamond Dogs will provide the musical entertainment throughout the evening. Jazz trumpeter Yngvil Vatn Guttu will lead this multitude of musicians that have come together just for the Ritz. Vatn Guttu is a Homer musician who just received his double masters degree in jazz performance and film composition from New York University.
Anchorage Symphony violinist Lena Lukina, who recently launched her second CD featuring cinematic originals, will also perform. Original compositions by the band leaders will be interspersed with hits from the movie Moulin Rouge.
The evening’s silent and live auctions feature artwork, as well as experiences.
“All artwork has been generously donated to the museum for this fundraiser,” Miller said. “We’re grateful to the artists, individuals, businesses and organizations who continue to support the museum in this way.”
The silent auction will feature 26 items, ranging from artwork to gift certificates for services, experiences and products. Included in the array of silent auction items is a delivery of fresh peonies every week for three weeks from Alaska Perfect Peony.
A guided wilderness hike for two with Alaska adventurers Bretwood Higman and Erin McKittrik is also up for bid. The excursion includes lunch by Red Bird Caterers and transportation by Bay Excursions.
Also offered are a GoPro Hero 3 Silver Edition camera from Spawn Ideas, an Anchorage/Denali experience that includes an overnight stay at Hilton Anchorage and a round-trip ticket on Alaska Railroad to Denali.
The evening’s main event — the live auction — will feature 25 items, including artwork by artists Fred Machetanz, Annette Bellamy, Marion Beck, Karla Freeman, Asia Freeman, Ron Senungetuk, Turid Senungetuk, Don Henry and other local and statewide artists.
Halibut Cove artist Annette Bellamy donated a porcelain and monofilament with Plexiglas armature piece she calls “Break Up.”
“Break Up reflects on the quiet and subtle beauty of late winter,” Bellamy said. “Stark white porcelain floats in air much like the patterns of broken pan ice floating on the surface of the water, opening a way for the next season.”
Homer artist Ron Senungetuk is recognized around the state for his wood and metal creations. This year, he donated his “Setting Sun with Sea,” made of silver maple wood.
Homer artist and owner of Bunnell Street Arts Center’s Asia Freeman donated her oil painting entitled, “Jakalof Ridge.”
“My work hovers between pure abstraction and natural realism,” Freeman explained. “My paintings explore the beautiful and ever-changing Alaska coastline.”
Don Henry, also a Homer artist, is well-known for his sculptures made from found metal objects. Henry utilizes forks, spoons, knives, wheelchair parts, drill bits, old movie projector parts, chainsaw blades, ball bearings, fishhooks and any other metal he finds to create his unique art.
His pieces range in size from small frogs to a full-scale Harley Davidson sculpture. This year’s Ritz will feature his piece, “Tree House.”
The Pratt’s first Ritz event was held in 1986, and has grown into the museum’s largest annual fundraiser. The event takes nearly five months to plan and execute, with the help of more than 50 volunteers and donations from more than 100 local and state-wide artists, businesses, organizations and individuals.
All funds raised during the Ritz are devoted to the educational programs and exhibits offered at the Pratt Museum.
Ritz at the Moulin Rouge takes place Saturday, November 2, 6:30pm to 10pm at Wasabi’s Restaurant 4.5 miles out East End Road. Artwork can be viewed at Wasabi’s Restaurant during an opening reception on Friday, November 1 between 5pm and 9pm.
Tickets are $100, available at the Pratt Museum and the Homer Bookstore. For more information contact Michele Miller at 435-3343 or firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the Museum website www.prattmuseum.org or stop by the Pratt Museum at 3779 Bartlett Street.
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