Picture this: It's 1925 and people from numerous walks of life have all descended upon one great, golden occasion. Excitement spills out mansion doors and the champagne flows freely like the fountains, and the music, and the fringe on beaded dresses in the grand garden. Only it's not 1925 at all. It's present day. And it's not Gatsby's giant estate in West Egg, though you are indeed at a mansion that existed during that era. You're in Rock Island, Illinois, and this is the experience that awaits you on October 1st, 2016.
In our city, within very short walking distance of the Broadway district in which I live and work, we have a marvelous hidden treasure. Through sprawling trees and up a somewhat forgotten winding path lies the Denkmann Hauberg house. Built in 1911 and generously gifted in 1956 to the City of Rock Island, it now serves as a Civic Center.
Earlier this year our city's leaders drew harsh criticism from residents when it considered selling the building, citing a lack of funds and disrepair. Thankfully, the voices of the public won out and a new non-profit organization, Friends of Hauberg Civic Center, rose to advocate for the building and aid in maintenance and restoration. On their agenda right now: restoring the gorgeous art glass windows. An ambitious undertaking with a price tag of over $100,000. That's where Mr. Gatsby comes in.
The fictional character can't exactly write a check, but his fantastic legacy has inspired a night a to remember. There will be dancing, champagne, heavy hors d'oeuvres, and a silent auction featuring original works of art by local artists.
I myself have donated a painting and couldn't be more enthusiastic about attending or having my work shown. If you're within traveling distance, I highly recommend it.
The gala will commence at 6:00 in the evening and run until 10:00.
My piece, for your enjoyment and one bidder's future ownership, is a 16" x 20" acrylic painting on canvas titled Champagne Stars.
"In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars."
-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Created specifically for the benefit of the Civic Center at Hauberg Mansion, a Gatsby inspired woman stands upon the edge of the evening's glittering festivities. Tulips, which Susanne Denkmann Hauberg loved, are incorporated into the jewelry and lace beadwork as a nod to the philanthropic homeowner.
Tickets to this grand and sure to be stunning event can be purchased on Eventbrite by searching for the Hauberg Great Gatsby Gala.