Carnegie Center for the Arts, like all arts organizations, needs a continuous stream of revenue to support its operations and the maintenance of its facility.
"We can get grants for programs but there just aren't any grants out there for general operations funds, so we have to raise the money to keep our doors open, pay our staff and keep things running," said Brenda Cornitius, president of the Dodge City Area Arts Council in a recent interview.
And one of Carnegie's well-established fund raising events is the annual Beaux Arts Ball.
The ball, created in part by the efforts of the late Paul Marshall, who served as the center's director for several years, is patterned on costume balls made famous in Paris in the 1920s.
The local version features food and drink in the early part of the evening followed by dancing to a live band.
Dress for the event is everything from cowboy elegant to black tie.
"We didn't want people to stay home because their husband didn't want to wear a tux," Cornitius said.
So formal wear and fancy gowns mingle easily with jeans and cowboy hats at the event.
The evening begins with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at 7 p.m. followed by dinner at 8 p.m.
Dancing begins at 9 p.m. and continues to midnight.
The theme for this year's ball is "Secret Garden," inspired by the book about a young girl who discovers a hidden, neglected and magical garden.
"We're shooting for the look of an overgrown elegant garden," Cornitius said.
The Magouirk Conference Center, site of the annual ball beginning last year, will be transformed into a magical garden for the evening.
Marshal Harris and Miss Kitty from Boot Hill will serve as honorary host and hostess for the event and Sen. Garrett Love is honorary chair.
"I'm excited to be taking part in the Beaux Arts Ball, which has become such a special tradition in Dodge City. It's going to be a fun evening that will help raise money for a great cause," Love said in a recent statement.
"We're trying to make the ball more like it was years ago, since our research has told us that's what our patrons want,' said Summer Bates, director of Carnegie.
A Taste of Fall
Food for the event will be prepared under the direction of the Magouirk Conference Center's new chef, Tonja Reed. Reed was sous chef under the facility's former kitchen chief, Ryan Emery.
The evening begins with appetizers. Jumbo shrimp stuffed with cream cheese and dipped in a coconut batter will pair with jumbo mushrooms stuffed with sausage and topped with jalapeño candy sauce.
Page 2 of 2 - Dinner will begin with a fall harvest salad, featuring greens, cheese, nuts and cranberries with a honey balsamic dressing.
The star of the main course will be a sirloin steak, surrounded with angel hair pasta and fresh herbs along with broccoli and cauliflower florets.
A sweet finish to the meal will be provided by a wild berry Charlotte.
At 9 p.m. the focus shits from food to frolic as the band "Cool Blue," a Wichita-based musical group, gets the dancing started.
Playing everything from ballroom to country to good ol' rock and roll, Cool Blue has played for the ball since 2005.
"We ask them for an eclectic mix of music so everyone can have a good time," Cornitius said.
Another special feature of this year's ball will be the auction of a single painting.
The canvas, entitled "New York Cowgirl," was painted by an artist with local connections, Stan Herd.
Herd was commissioned to paint a massive mural around National Beef depicting Dodge City's history.
During the time he was working on that mural, he also completed New York Cowgirl.
Herd gave the painting to Sam Davis, head of National Beef at the time.
And Davis, in turn, gave it to a friend, Ronald D. Meyer, who admired it.
The painting is now part of the Meyer estate and will be auctioned during the ball.
"The family will donate 30 percent of the sale price to Carnegie," Cornitius said.
The 30 by 40 inch painting is currently on display in the upstairs gallery at Carnegie.
Join the fun
Tickets for the annual ball are $60 per person, which includes dinner.
Tickets should be purchased by the end of Carnegie's Final Friday event from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 27.
Tickets may be purchased by calling Carnegie at 620-225-6388 or by stopping by Carnegie Tuesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. or Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
You must be 21 or over to attend.