Community Invited To Enjoy Masquerade Mardi Gras Bal
By MARY KATHERINE EVANS
Mountaintop Eagle Intern

Shake off those winter blues and get ready for a good time this Saturday at the Masquerade Mardi Gras Ball & Art Auction to be held at St. Jude School. This festive affair will feature New Orleans style food, wine tasting, the sweet sound of Dixieland jazz and blues, and a wonderful variety of artwork to brighten your home or office.

The Masquerade Mardi Gras Ball, the theme of this year’s Art Auction, is the major fundraiser necessary to maintain and improve the arts programs at St. Jude School in addition to continuing the Artist in Residence program at the school.

A large variety of artwork at a range of prices will be auctioned off by a professional auctioneer following a preview from 6 to 7 pm. The artwork comes from two sources: the students themselves who work with the Artist in Residence, and from Marlin Arts in Long Island New York, which sends framed prints in watercolors, oils, and pastels of works from famous artists like Monet and Rembrandt.

“It’s a big production,” comments Nichole Josefowicz who has chaired the event for four of the five years that the Art Auction has been held.

“Art was always a big part of my life,” says Nichole, who has Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rosemont College, near Philadelphia. “The most important thing about the Art Auction is raising funds to keep the arts alive at St. Jude’s School.” She points out that it is difficult to maintain arts programs in schools, especially programs like the Artist in Residence.

The Artist in Residence Program at St. Jude School invites local artists through organizations like NEIU 19 (Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit), and the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, to work with students to create works of art. The artists spend time with the students working on their art for about 20 days. The artists come from all artistic fields. Some of the artists that have resided at St. Jude School through the program include a painter, a potter, and a weaver. The program has even had a Broadway Producer visit the school.

The Mardi Gras theme at this year’s Art Auction is evident in everything from the New Orleans style food, including a special Banana’s Foster dessert by Chef Kate, in addition to delicious New Orleans desserts from Burmeister’s Baker in Mountaintop, to the Penn Dixie band who will perform Dixieland jazz and blues music. M&M Winery in Wilkes-Barre will provide the wine for a wine tasting.

There is a lot of work involved with chairing this event which, according to Nichole, has always been a well-attended event and has had increased attendance every year. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it as long as the school has money for the arts,” says Nicole. So much so that after it is all over, she admits to thinking, “I want to chair again next year!”

The biggest and most important reason Nichole chairs the event is for her children; she has a student in seventh-grade and a student in firstgrade at St. Jude’s School. Nichole relates she loves the Mountaintop community and the school community, and because of this, she says, “I want to nurture my love of art where my children go to school.”

So take a break from the winter weather and transport yourself to an evening of fun. Enjoy the wine, cheese and hors d’oeuvres and of course, the artwork. There will also be a Basket Raffle and babysitting will be available on site.

Tickets for the event are available in advance or at the door. Admission is $25 per person and $40 per couple. To arrange for babysitting or advance tickets, please call St. Jude School at 570-474-5803.

St. Jude School is located at 422 South Mountain Blvd. All are welcome!