The Quinlan Visual Arts Center will roll out the red carpet on Oct. 1 for its inaugural Q Ball, a fundraiser that will benefit the Quinlan School of Art.
The Q Ball is modeled after New York’s Met Gala with the theme “All That Glitters.” Attendees are encouraged to come out in sparkling gowns, tuxedos or whatever unique outfit they feel comfortable in.
“We wanted to do something that isn't being done in Gainesville, and would also draw a different group of people to the Quinlan versus our spring Gala fundraiser, which is our premier fundraiser,” said Nairika Cornett, the Quinlan’s executive director.
The spring Gala fundraiser crowd is usually limited to those who have purchased art from a prior Gala. With a maximum of 220 guests that can be hosted at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center, space is tight and tickets can be difficult to purchase.
That won’t be the case for the Q Ball, though, which will be held at Lanier Technical College’s Ramsey Conference Center. There will also not be a public auction, and Cornett encourages people to leave their wallets at home.
“We just want people to come there and know how much we appreciate them supporting this effort,” Cornett said. “It is our first time, it's going to be huge. And really, we want them not to feel misused. So they're not even going to hear much from us. It's going to be one big dance party. Of course, the board will be there to thank them personally, but there's not going to be speeches and lectures.”
An individual gold-level ticket costs $200 and a gold-level table for 10 guests costs $2,000. These tickets will give attendees access to multiple food stations like a seafood bar with oysters Rockefellers and tuna, a meat station, a desert station and various bars for alcoholic beverages.
There are also VIP platinum-level tickets available, which are priced at $500 for a single ticket and $5,000 for a table of 10. The platinum tickets will provide access to the VIP Lounge with hand-rolled cigars, top-shelf liquor tastings and quality foods.
The Quinlan School of Art, which was created in 2021, will put funds toward studio space upgrades and the pottery studio’s expansion. Even more importantly, the art school wants to offer more scholarships to its students.
“That is our biggest need,” Cornett said. “A lot of students really, really, really want to take these classes but are unable to pay for them. For those who cannot afford it, we would truly like to gift scholarships. Those students we would identify through the Hall County and the City of Gainesville school systems.”
Additionally, the Quinlan will use money raised from the Q Ball to offer more classes like digital art, photography, clay camp, and art therapy.
Art therapy has become increasingly popular, and Cornett said it especially gives children an outlet to express their emotions. After children have experienced the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic for the past two and a half years, art therapy is needed more than ever.
“Very often, children are great at expressing emotion through drawing,” Cornett said. “They know something's wrong, but they don't know what is wrong or how to express what they're feeling. What you will see in their artwork is their head drooping towards the floor. You will see them slumped. If they're drawing a stick figure, it is no longer erect. It is insane how communicative their art can become.”
These art therapy sessions would be modeled like a normal art class, so future students do not feel singled out.
“The catharsis happens through their artwork, and they're never made to feel like something is wrong with them. It's very normal and natural,” Cornett said.
Tickets for the Q Ball can be purchased here, and the event will kick off at 7 p.m.. Attendees should also bring an extra pair of dancing shoes.
“A 13-piece band, the Atlanta Blues Factory, will play from 7 to 11 p.m., non-stop,” Cornett said. They run the gamut from jazz to Motown to contemporary sound. They are like a little mini Las Vegas show in themselves. They have choreographed numbers, they will come out and dance with the crowd. They are absolutely fantastic.”