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Charity in disguise: Conyers gallery, studio to host masquerade ball

Staff Photo: Erin Evans. Conyers artist Birgit Porter uses a hot glue gun to assemble a mask for the Masquerade Ball, a fundraiser to benefit the Olde Town Gallery & Studio, scheduled for Aug. 7. Each person attending the ball will receive a mask to wear during the event. Top, a completed mask hangs in the window of the Olde Town Gallery & Studio.

Staff Photo: Erin Evans. Conyers artist Birgit Porter uses a hot glue gun to assemble a mask for the Masquerade Ball, a fundraiser to benefit the Olde Town Gallery & Studio, scheduled for Aug. 7. Each person attending the ball will receive a mask to wear during the event. Top, a completed mask hangs in the window of the Olde Town Gallery & Studio.

CONYERS -- One evening, after Colye Justman had closed up the Olde Town Gallery & Art Studio, he sat quietly in the dark and envisioned the gallery space transformed.

He imagined the room lit only by candles, a piano and violin playing a waltz and people wearing colorful masks dancing across the floor.

At 7 p.m. Aug. 7, Justman's imagination will come to life when the Olde Town Gallery hosts the first Masquerade Ball. A fundraiser for the gallery, the Masquerade Ball will feature wine, heavy hors d'oeuvres, live music and silent auction.

"I tossed the idea to the Conyers Rockdale Council for the Arts and we've been moving forward ever since," said Justman, Olde Town Gallery director.

Revenue from the tickets, $75 for individuals or $130 per couple, will be used to support the nonprofit gallery and its programs such as adult art classes, art camp for people with special needs and art shows with local public and private schools.

The gallery displays a wide variety of art submitted by artists within the metro Atlanta area and even as far away as Russia. Paintings, sculptures, mixed media, photographs, furniture and jewelry can be found for sale. Prices for works range from $8 to $150,000.

"We have a lot of visitors that come in and they're just wowed. The quality and caliber of art is just astounding," Justman said.

Justman said in his concept for the Masquerade Ball he sought to present an event that stood out from other types of fundraisers presented in the community.

"I thought, 'What would be fun and different?' and literally I had this vision of the place filled with candlelight," Justman said.

When Masquerade Ball attendees purchase their tickets, either from the Olde Town Gallery or the Conyers Rockdale Council for the Arts, they will be issued a mask to wear to the event.

Visitors to the Masquerade Ball will walk on a red carpet into the gallery and then be announced. They must wear their masks throughout the event and at the end of the evening there will be an "unmasking."

Dress is formal. Men may wear suits or tuxedos; women evening gowns or dresses.

Music will be provided by a violinist and pianist and visitors are encouraged to dance. A dance contest will be another aspect of the fundraiser.

"It's just going to be a very romantic and gracious evening," Justman said.

Those interested in attending the Masquerade Ball are encouraged to buy their tickets by July 31. Tickets may be purchased at the Olde Town Gallery & Studio, 909 Commercial St. or at the Conyers Rockdale Council for the Arts, 910 Center St. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, call the gallery at 770-929-9242 or the CRCA at 770-922-3134.