Who needs snow when you’ve got palm trees swaying in the sunset?

Wish you were there: CMCA’s Virtual Vacation dance party

Wed, 02/12/2014 - 9:30am

    ROCKPORT — While hundreds of people celebrated in the snowy outdoors this weekend, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art had another idea in mind: tropical breezes, beach balls, and plenty of rum drinks in coconuts.

    CMCA threw a dance party blow out at their gallery Saturday, Feb. 8, in Rockport to transport those who are starting to feel cabin fever to a virtual place of warm sand and sun. Director Suzette McAvoy credits artist and photographer Jonathan Laurence for coming up with the concept. CMCA is currently closed to the public for the season and the staff got together to brainstorm what they could do for an event.

    “We were thinking, what does everyone need right now?” said McAvoy. “And everyone started talking about going to the tropics. So we said well, if we can’t all go on vacation right now, we can go on virtual vacation — something with a contemporary art edge.”

    They transformed a huge section of gallery space into beachfront resort with projections of swaying palm trees against an ocean sunset on the walls. Other details included a Caribbean bar, a Members Only lounge, a tanning booth and a photo booth where people could take home souvenir post cards with their images on them.  They even offered custom beach balls that everyone could take home.

    She estimates that approximately 130 people showed up to the event, which was impressive given the competing weekend events of the U.S. National Toboggan Championships.

    “It was a lot of fun,” McAvoy said. “We also got lucky to have the Jason Spooner band in town that weekend. They’re recording a new album at Hearstudios. So, courtesy of the studio, they donated the band. And they played some reggae and Caribbean stuff, as well as a lot of their own music. D.J. Own Cartwright also played before and after, so we really had people dancing all night.”

    McAvoy said the event was a little fundraiser as well as a way to get the gallery out there in people’s minds during the slower winter months.

    “I thought it was a really good turnout. We were really pleased,” she said.

    For more information on what CMCA is up to once they reopen, visit: cmcanow.org

    All photos courtesy Kelsey Floyds Photography at www.kelseyfloyd.com

    Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com