BRISTOL – The New England Carousel Museum is re-inventing its ACE event from an awards ceremony to a “community arts experience,” hosting an array of artists from throughout New England on Nov. 6 in an event inspired by the book “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern.
The fundraiser gala will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. at the museum at 95 Riverside Ave. It will feature more than 30 artists and performers in a variety of mediums. Attendees are asked to come dressed in black and white in accordance with a theme from the book.
“We’re shifting gears,” said Morgan Urgo, executive director of the New England Carousel Museum. “Post pandemic we’ve decided that we won’t be doing an awards ceremony. It will still be a fundraising gala, but it will now highlight as many different types of art as possible. In the past, the ACE event was focused only on singing and piano. We now want to incorporate everything from barber shops and nail design studios to dancers, magicians and performers.”
As Carousel Museum staff decided how best to feature these styles, Urgo said the idea of a circus was brought up. An event committee member then mentioned “The Night Circus.”
“They said that there was this great piece of modern literature called ‘The Night Circus,’” said Urgo. “We all read the book and it seemed like a natural fit that lent itself perfectly to what we had in mind. This year we are basing our event around The Night Circus. Next year we will focus on a different book or piece of artwork.”
Urgo said “The Night Circus” is a Victorian-era fantasy novel which involves a competition between two magicians.
“It’s a fantasy novel with a bit of time travel and a steampunk vibe,” she said.
The New England Carousel Museum has previously hosted steampunk gatherings, with steampunk being an art medium envisioning a “retro-future” based on steam-powered machinery and vintage, 19th century fashion.
“The Night Circus” also has a dedicated following, Urgo said, with fans calling themselves the “Rêveurs” after a group in the book. Urgo said that, upon announcing this event, fans from as far away as California have registered for it.
“It puts a lot of pressure on us to be authentic to the book, but we plan to make this event something really special,” said Urgo. The idea was that we wanted to make it something you have to see and experience. If you’re a fan of the book, you will get a lot out of the evening. If you’re not a fan of the book, it will still be a very interesting sensory experience.”
Some of the artists who will be featured include Li Liu, a contortionist from Naugatuck. “DJ Zerp” will also perform and there will be dancing at the event of the evening.
In addition, artist Evangeline Stott will be doing a live painting during part of the performances. Once complete, the painting will be auctioned off during a live auction.
Urgo thanked the Bristol Arts & Culture Commission for helping to sponsor the event. She said they helped make the ACE event possible by putting up artists flying in from New York, Massachusetts in hotel rooms at DoubleTree.
Tickets are $60 per person or $50 for museum members.
To purchase tickets, call 860-5858-5411 or visit thecarouselmuseum.org.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.