Power Plant's Power Ball Full of 'Hidden Surprises, Altered Realities'

By Carla Warrilow June 22, 2011, 2:45 PM EDT

Photo: Josh Fee for BizBash

Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery's Power Ball
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The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery held its annual fund-raiser, the Power Ball, on Thursday evening. Known for its outlandish themes and art installations, this year’s ball attempted to build on that reputation with the theme of “Thirteenth Floor,” which promised “hidden surprises, altered realities, [and] a playground for the imagination,” according to the invite. As guests rounded a corner to enter the gallery, they were met with an 800-pound bull roasting on a spit. “Vegetarians beware,” joked Tiffany Cox, the new major event and business development coordinator at the Power Plant. 
This year's fund-raiser was the highest-netting Power Ball to date, drawing 1,700 guests and receiving double the sponsorship, with eight partner sponsors. “Word about the event has got out,” said Cox, who also cited the evening’s originality as a reason for its popularity. “People want to come and be involved in an art piece.”

Art was a focus of the evening, with a number of installations for guests to experience and explore. Artist Laura Kikauka filled one room with 24 refrigerators, creating what Cox called a “haunted mess hall.” Guests could open each fridge to find anything from mannequin heads to stuffed animals to sponsor food products. Sponsors also designed installations like the Kobo reading room, inspired by The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

This year’s Power Ball also placed a greater focus on food, with local chef Marc Thuet heading the menu. “We really let [Thuet] be an artist,” Cox said. With such a large number of guests attending, Cox and her team decided against hors d’oeuvres and passed plates within the main party. Instead, food was made available in two designated areas: in the backyard, where the bull was roasting, and in Kikauka’s haunted mess hall. (In the V.I.P. room, there were four food stations and circulated appetizers.)

The V.I.P. experience underwent some changes. Rather than taking place within the larger party, the 350 V.I.P. guests had a room to themselves. “This year, we really wanted to make it exclusive and intimate,” Cox said. The V.I.P. party was also pushed back an hour, allowing the main party to begin before the V.I.P. guests joined in.

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