Developing Artists, Murals and Alliances (DAMA) will host the first annual Masquerade Ball, an elegant evening benefitting its youth program, on Friday, Sept., 22 at The Labor Temple at 1602 S Park St., on Madison’s South Side.
DAMA is a local non-profit organization that exists to foster youth development through collective art experiences and to train local artists to stabilize and sustain community transformation processes. The organization’s vision is to “use mural-making to help develop a network of communities whose members, especially youth, feel safe in their neighborhoods and proud of their communities.”
The Masquerade Ball event will kick off with a social hour at 6 p.m. and will feature dancing, refreshments, and creative talent from Madison providing tarot readings, magic, poetry on the spot, face art, and much more.
DAMA will be presenting awards to four adults including:
- Sharon Kilfoy will receive the Visionary Arts Award honoring a leader whose trailblazing work impacts young people, artists, and communities through arts education, community engagement, and youth leadership development.
- Alicia Rheal will receive the Above and Beyond Artists Award recognizing those who have taken additional tasks to ensure that projects are completed on time and at a high-quality level — a person who has taken the time to teach, mentor, and support other artists to succeed.
- Mark Fraire will receive the Creative Economic Impact Award, which is given to an individual who develops and implements art activities, experience art events, get inspired by artist, share their art skills with other, and bring awareness of the cultural and economic impact of the arts in the City and the County.
- Willian Reedy will be honored with the Outstanding Donor Award
DAMA will also present “Discovery in the Arts Awards” to the following young people: Elizabeth Lozano-Naval, Chloe Manke, Abril Aleman Sorelo and Mayela Torres.
Veronica Figueroa, the executive director of DAMA, says this event has been in the works for two years.
“With new leadership comes new ideas and different ways of doing things and kind of bringing DAMA back to its roots, which was serving young people while we connect young people with the community at large through art making and public art settings,” Figueroa tells Madison365.
Figueroa says when they started thinking about doing a big event, they didn’t want to do a regular old sit-down event with dinner and awards. “We wanted to do something very creative. The Masquerade Ball gives us the opportunity to be creative and do something different in the community,” Figueroa says. “We are going to have some great entertainment at the event.
“The Raging Grannies [singing group] will be entertaining us for our social hour and we will have face painting and tarot readings. We will have poetry on the spot,” she continues. “It’s bringing together other forms of art, but also bringing together as many different ages and generations that we can … from the younger generation to what I call the wiser generation.”
Figueroa adds that at the Masquerade Ball, she wants to highlight and honor the young people and their work and their efforts.
“Oftentimes kids who are always misread in schools or mislabeled as ‘troubled kids’ or ‘behavioral issue kids’ … they have a lot of potential,” she says. “We have the opportunity to work with those kids to help them reach their potential and view themselves as something else and help them invigorate their ideas and their visualization for a better future for them.”
Figueroa highlighted some of the work that DAMA has been doing including starting an apprenticeship program for the summer of last year.
“We have about 10-12 kids that come from different areas in high school across the city and the county and the kids got to learn what we do, learn about other careers – so we partner with other people from the trades to the university to business owners — and we really help the kids envision creativity as a way of success and being creative about their futures.
“You could be a lawyer, you could be an essential worker, you could be an artist, you could be a manager, you can be a business owner, you can be whatever you want to be,” she adds. “So we’re helping kids explore careers, helping kids ignite their creativity, helping kids really have a different vision of themselves to create a better version of themselves for the years to come. So that’s what this masquerade [ball] is about.”
Figueroa says that she is looking forward to seeing all of these diverse young people at the Masquerade Ball event.
“Some of them will be there as volunteers. Some of them are going to be working for us like photographers and things like that and they’ll get paid for those services,” Figueroa says. “And some of them are just there to enjoy and have fun. And then, of course, whoever else wants to come and join us for the event.”
The Masquerade Ball is open to any age group. Figueroa anticipates that many of the attendees will make their own costumes, ranging from the very simple to the intricately crafted. Prizes for “Most Original” and “Best Group” costumes will be awarded.
“We want to have a contest so people get to dress up and make their own masks. Make it fun. The kids will vote on who gets the prizes,” Figueroa says. “We will have a VIP table set up, but it’s mostly going to be cocktail tables all around the room. And, of course, the DJ is going to be playing as well.
“We’ll have different activities happening throughout the event, and making it very open to young people in the city and anybody else who wants to feel young and tdo come in and have fun with us and support young people,” she adds. “We want the kids to have their space and to also be able to feel part of the community and have their work highlighted because they have worked very hard during the summers for us. So having those kids at this event is so valuable and they will bring their friends who can potentially become part of the larger group of DAMA, as well.”
To purchase tickets to the DAMA first annual Masquerade Ball, click here.