Visual Arts

Beaux Arts Ball hopes to attract more than its usual crowd

Costumes, big crowds and various states of dress are hallmarks of the annual Beaux Arts Ball, which dates to 1969. Shown here is the 2008 ball.
Costumes, big crowds and various states of dress are hallmarks of the annual Beaux Arts Ball, which dates to 1969. Shown here is the 2008 ball.

The organizers of this year's Beaux Arts Ball — the annual bemasked, bewigged, beglittered bacchanalia thrown by students at the University of Kentucky College of Design — are hoping to attract an older crowd — you know, like people in their 30s.

To that end, Kelsea Clayton and her co-directors have been working to spread the news about Saturday's student-run charity ball beyond current students at UK. They want to bring in alumni and others in the community who might not have known about the festivities or perhaps felt uncomfortable coming to the party.

"I thought everyone knew about it," said Clayton, "but not everyone does."

There has been a more visible run-up to this year's event and more efforts to get the community involved. For example, co-director Hannah Sellers said there have been several events at which the public could view and vote in support of models of their favorite installations. The top vote-getters were funded for full-scale construction.

A survey of those previously involved also resulted in some physical changes, such as the location of the taxicab pick-up and drop-off to make it more convenient for attendees.

Regular "Beaux Arts Ballers" shouldn't worry, however. Many of the key elements remain. There will be plenty of wild costumes, drag queens and electronic dance music. Acts include nationally known artists such as Diesel Boy, Designer Drugs and IllGates alongside hometown artists like Ellie Herring and DJ Prof.

Lexington has had a Beaux Arts Ball since 1969 and has raised thousands of dollars for local charities. Last year, $45,000 was donated. The beneficiaries of this year's ball include Common Good, Institute 193, Lexington Dream Factory, Be the Match and the UK Chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students.

This year's theme is "Reflection," and all manner of glittering costumes are expected. Sellers, Clayton and fellow director Brittany Dingeldein have barely had time to consider their own.

But they want people to remember that whether they have a costume or not, the Beaux Arts "is prime time for people watching."


Beaux Arts Ball

What: Charity ball organized by the UK College of Design. Live music by Designer Drugs, DieselBoy, IllGates, Child in Disguise, Ellie Herring and the Librarian, Nemo Achida, Ninja Lowe, DJ Crow, DJ Prof and Adam Ingram. Entertainment by Rebel Riot Revue, Lexington Fashion Collaborative, Imperial Court of Kentucky, Amalgamation Fire Nation, UK Dance Ensemble and Poi Dancers.

When: April 13. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Where: Pepper Warehouse, 1200 Manchester St.

Tickets: $30 at door, $25 in advance at, CD Central, Pop's Resale, Country Boy Brewing and UK's Pence Hall. Must be at least 18; ID required. Parking is $10. Taxi service is $2.

Learn more:

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader