St. Pete's Arts Alliance puts on an artful fundraiser

MUSE 2015 entertained the crowd with wearable art, live demos and groovy jams.

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MUSE 2015, the annual fundraiser for St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, had St. Pete’s Museum of Fine Art stuffed to the brim with enthusiastic artists and patrons. The night's program included a live demo with sculptor Kyu Yamamoto, caricatures by Bruce W. Norris and a silent auction rich in art and opportunities. 

I scoped out the auction items, which included blown glass from the Morean Arts Center and a full-figure sculpture of Yamamato’s, and as I headed toward the bar I witnessed a PETA dream come true — a full glass of red wine sloshed straight onto a full-length white mink coat. I half expected a squeal, or some tears, or maybe even another glass of wine flying through the air. Lucky for the man who stepped on the tablecloth and caused the mishap, the woman who owned the coat wasn’t near the incident. After I watched the whole wine-saturated episode unfold, I finally shut my mouth of disbelief and got my Chardonnay. 

In a way, that ordeal epitomized the evening — lots of wine, a wealth of extravagantly stylish clothing and continuous live entertainment. 
Sauntering around the museum atrium were five beautiful women embellished in designer Lina Teixeira’s wearable art. Decorated in dresses made of recycled paper, loofahs and recycled earrings, Teixeira’s art was entertaining and fabulous. 

MUSE’s house band, La Lucha, jammed their jazzy stuff while everyone indulged in dinner. A performance by Paper by Fifty Three, which featured students from Forward Thinking Initiatives, preceded the announcement of silent auction winners and MUSE award winners. Emcees for the evening were Paul Wilborn, cabaret performer and executive director of the Palladium Theatre, and Becca McCoy, actor, singer and the 2014 recipient of the Arts Alliance People’s Choice Award. The two announced with engaging excitement the five MUSE 2015 awards. 

Carrie Jadus, whose painting Cartography of a Sculptor's Hands was the featured artwork for the event, was awarded the Visual Arts Award. The widely loved American Stage Theatre Company was awarded the Performance Arts Award and author Kristine Radish was awarded the Literary Arts Award. The Patron of the Arts Award was presented to Al May and the Arts Ambassador Award was given to Carol Mickett and Robert Stackhouse.

The evening ended with a dance floor covered in wined-up artists dancing to the voice of Alex Harris as he sang his way through the crowd. With a voice that sounded like the best of Al Green and Marvin Gaye, he sang "My Girl" by The Temptations. He had everyone up on the stage cutting the rug to shreds. 

After I got my fill of dancing, I headed over to Wine Madonna, a wine lounge co-owned by Radish, and sipped on a nice Merlot — there were plenty of familiar faces doing the same. MUSE was a fun and well-organized fundraiser that got everyone in good spirits, except maybe the lady whose white fur coat is now dark red. I wish her and her coat cleaner the best of luck; they’re going to need it. 

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