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UI Museum of Art hosts mask competition, comedy show

BY CLAIRE DIETZ | MAY 07, 2015 5:00 AM

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Before the flood of 2008, the home of the University of Iowa’s Museum of Art was evacuated, but now the museum hopes to keep itself in the public eye through a fundraising event titled Destination Venice — the Journey Continues.

On Saturday, the Museum of Art people will travel to the Coralville Marriot, 300 E. 9th St., in order to raise money for the continued growth and expansion of the program. 

The event will feature an art-mask competition and the début of a new comedy duo titled Gee and Kay, featuring Megan Gogerty and Paul Kalina. Organizers hope to raise money for the new Museum of Art, which is planned to be built at the intersection of Burlington and Clinton Streets.

The event is a continuation of last year’s “Splatter to Sparkle — Join the Journey.” The Venice theme is in honor of Jackson Pollock’s Mural, donated to the UI in 1951, which is at present in Venice at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. It is a part of the American offerings for the 2015 Venice Art Biennale.

Staff liaison for the museum Members Council Elizabeth Wallace said that the mask portion of the night is set to be another continuation from last year’s event, and she is excited to present a broad variety of masks created and submitted by international, national and local artists. Following the Museum Party, the masks will be displayed in downtown store windows from May 13 to 27.

“With Venice as our theme, we decided to repeat our wearable art competition from last year, but this time with masks,” Wallace said. “Masks are an iconic Venice staple during Carnival celebrations and beyond. Eleven artists will present art masks during the event, and guests will vote on their three favorites.”

Wallace said this event is important to the museum and its future in the Iowa City community and the greater art world.

“The Museum Party is our annual fundraising event,” Wallace said. “Guests have the opportunity to learn about and sponsor museum programming for the upcoming 2015-16 season.  All of the museum’s programming, which includes our exhibitions, statewide educational outreach, public programming, care and conservation of the collections, and marketing is funded privately.”

The event will also feature the première of Iowa City’s newest two-person comedy act, Gee and Kay. Wallace said the organizers are very excited to have Gogerty and Kalina “bring the ‘fun’ to ‘fundraising.’ ”

“When we were considering what might complement a Venice theme, I thought of the tradition of Commedia dell’arte,” Wallace said. “I first connected with Megan … and Megan recruited Paul. As things have evolved, we’ve moved away from the traditional commedia concept but have kept the comedy.”

Kalina said the audience should expect pachyderms and classic duo style comedy.

“There’ll be an elephant act, 500 elephants,” Kalina joked. “We’re just doing the classical style comedy duo act. Think of the Smothers Brothers, Burns and Allen, Martin and Lewis.”

Gogerty said they want to help raise funds as much as they can.

“We like to think ourselves as hosts for a delightful party that will culminate in the raising of funds for the museum,” she said. “That’s our hope, because they know it is a fundraiser and support the museum in any way they can. But our job is to put on the fun comedy show.”

When asked if Gee and Kay will be a one-time deal, Kalina said with a laugh, “Next stop Broadway, or Vegas, Atlantic City, maybe Des Moines, maybe even Peoria. If it plays in Peoria, you know you’ve made it.” 


ART & COMEDY
Museum Party: Destination Venice — the Journey Continues
Where: Coral Ballroom, Marriott Hotel , 300 E. Ninth St., Coralville
When: 8 p.m. Saturday


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