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April 16, 2001

Carlos preps for annual gala

By Eric Rangus


A Night on the Nile” is the theme for Veneralia 2001, the Carlos Museum’s annual fundraising gala, Saturday, April 21. The telltale theme coincides with the debut of a new, never-before-seen private collection of Egyptian art, and proceeds will help fund new Egyptian galleries, which will open in the fall.

Tickets are $250 per individual, and patron tickets are $1,000 per couple.

Running an art museum and acquiring pieces of the quality displayed at the Carlos is an expensive endeavor. Veneralia plays a major role in filling the coffers.

“A lot of people don’t know it, but we are responsible for raising 50 percent of our budget,” said Allison Germaneso Dixon, the museum’s coordinator of marketing and public relations. “Veneralia is a big part of how we do this.”

Indeed. Since 1989, Veneralia has been the Carlos’ primary tool to raise funds, and it has been quite successful. Last year, Veneralia (which means “Festival of Venus”) brought in more than $160,000 through ticket sales and a live auction.

It is estimated that about 350 people—more than half of them museum members—will attend Veneralia 2001. A sit-down gathering of that size is much too large for the museum’s reception hall, so it facilitates the raising of a 10,000 sq. ft. tent that occupies the Quad in front of the museum for a week before the event.

Since the tent blocks off the sidewalk in front of the Carlos—and because a huge white tent is not exactly aesthetically pleasing—not everyone on campus appreciates its existence.

But it is the tent that makes the event possible, Germaneso Dixon said, and without it, a vitally important fundraiser would be in jeopardy. “We hope that people will understand and bear with us,” she said.

Proceeds will support the museum’s newly acquired Lichirie Collection of Egyptian artifacts, an exhibit of which is set to open Oct. 6.

Veneralia 2001 will begin with a cocktail reception at 7 p.m., and attendees also will get a sneak preview of the museum’s newest exhibition, “The Collector’s Eye: Master-pieces of Egyptian Art from the Thalassic Collection.”

The 175-piece collection, which ranges from monumental statues of pharaohs to finely crafted amulets and jewels, has never been shown publicly and will make its debut April 22.

The gathering will move inside the tent at 8 p.m. for dinner and dancing to the music of the Bo Thorpe Orchestra.

While tickets are a significant source of income for the Carlos, a majority of the proceeds come from the live auction.

The list of items up for bidding this year includes a Egyptian vacation, a 14-day cruise around Northern Europe and Scandi-navia, several pieces of jewelry and art, and a Jaguar XKR convertible. For more information or to receive an invitation and purchase tickets, call 404-727-2251.


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