Toronto’s glamour set comes together for Powerball XIX in support of our own contemporary art gallery


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Image: Karolyne Ellacott

They came, they swanned, they conquered. At this year’s Power Ball XIX — the art fete of the year — Toronto’s glitterati got the eve off to an early start. Beginning at 7 p.m. sharp, the VIP portion of the party saw a crowd, dressed in many a sequin, pile into an incredibly tall space at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. Toronto’s Real Housewives — Grego Minot, Ann Kaplan Mulholland, Joan Kelley Walker, and Jana Webb — mugged for all the cameras in formation. Jay Strut strutted in all black while Hayley Elsasser looked like a candyland dream in one of her own designs. Other attendees included starlet Sarah Gadon and Kardinall Offishall, who donned an eye-catching lime green leather jacket for the occasion.


(IMAGE: ​KAROLYNE ​ELLACOTT)

 

Inside, the room had been swaddled in red velvet, with a centrally located bar and food station courtesy of the Drake’s catering arm at either end. One station was sweet (think beignets drizzled with dulce de leche and lavender ice cream) and the other had savoury options (duck confit and pommery beignets and parsnip and rosemary ice cream).


(IMAGE: ​KAROLYNE ​ELLACOTT)

 

As for the art, this year’s theme was Stereo Vision, and Mexico’s Pedro&Juana collaborated with Italian performance artist Francesco Pedraglio resulting in images of the crowd being projected onto the velveted walls at either end. There was also a performance element to the eve that had guests questioning whether someone really was that clumsy with their wine glass and if that couple was actually deep in a passionate embrace (they weren’t).

Following two hours of VIP fun, the main party got started and everyone swam over to the rest of the gallery space, throwing back some of Brandon Olsen’s tasty chocolates en route. Each room had been transformed by a different artist, resulting in varied atmosphere ranging from a titillating space with some rather sexy manual animations thanks to Canadian artist Daniel Barrow to a more solemn contemplative space courtesy of Torrance Hall, a teenage photographer from Virginia who nabbed the National YoungArts Foundations’ 2017 Max Mara Young Visionary Award. 


(IMAGE: ​IKONICA)

 

Kelly Richardson’s digital landscapes complete with gently swaying holographic trees was a crowd favourite (and great for selfies, naturally). One of the most playful spaces was a hallway lit with a neon light structure, with its walls covered in over 8,000 giant pastel-hued marshmallows from Archimallows. Partygoers plucked them straight from the walls and stuffed their faces — or got them roasted over a fire for a haute camping experience. 

Meanwhile, the waterfront patio had been taken over by Parts & Labour, who turned out pulled beef and other meaty offerings, with a giant BBQ sauce fountain anchoring the setup. Elsewhere, pig heads bookended a table overflowing with charcuterie that was complemented by an array of cheeses. We pitied those vegans. Guests took in live tunes and a DJ set from Toronto’s Darcys before moving back indoors to dance into the wee hours. 


(IMAGE: ​KAROLYNE ​ELLACOTT)

 


(IMAGE: ​KAROLYNE ​ELLACOTT)

 


(IMAGE: ​IKNONICA)

 

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Karolyne Ellacott is senior editor at Post City Magazines. She can oft be spotted at Toronto’s most nostalgic diners wearing glittery heels and pink faux fur. Follow all of her eclectic writing interests on Twitter @kellacott and Instagram @itismekar.

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