Sacre Beaux! Annual arts ball dazzles

by Fink Densford

Few parties manage to include a drag show, fashion show, fire breathers, costumes ranging from bizarre to absurd and live disc jockeys, both local and national, in Lexington — but the Beaux Arts Ball does it all.

Putting together a party this big takes a lot of planning.

And that’s just what the three directors of the Beaux Arts Ball found out this year after helping put on one of Lexington’s biggest parties.

Madelynn Ringo, Donovan Justice and Geoffrey Sorrel took the Beaux Arts Ball under their wings last year, and had previously worked together on the Beaux Arts Fall Ball last October.

All of the directors are third-year architecture students from UK’s College of Design and helped organize the event around their already busy schedules.

“We started thinking about it when they approached us last year, about a week before the last event,” Ringo said.

And the time required to prepare only grew from there.

“It was a weekly thing, then a daily thing, then, as time went on, an hourly thing,” Ringo said.

According to its website, the Beaux Arts Ball is the largest student-run, non-profit organization in the state of Kentucky.

So, why would students in a demanding architecture program take on so much responsibility?

“Because Beaux Arts is awesome,” Ringo said. “It’s the best party, it’s the funnest day of the year and it’s such an awesome tradition in the architecture school.”

Justice said that it was an amazing chance for them to learn and grow and that he couldn’t turn down the opportunity.

“We’ve learned how to be a promoter, a graphic designer; it has been crazy,” Ringo said. “It’s like running a business.”

Ringo said that she had been happy to see other people coming together to help make the party work and help organize the night’s other events.

The ball’s fashion show, drag show and fire ensemble were organized by separate directors and united for the night’s festivities.

“There have been so many opportunities that have been given to us from running this event, because we can always take it further into our lives,” Justice said.

But setting up the Beaux Arts Ball isn’t really about the directors, Ringo said. It’s about supporting Lexington.

“It’s all about Lexington, serving the local organizations — letting those people who’ve never played in front of a crowd of more than 100 people, now they’re going to play tonight in front of thousands,” Ringo said.

Justice said that while he loves the opportunity to learn from the event, it’s really about supporting the arts.

“We are here to support the arts here in Lexington, so a lot of the installations you see tonight were from artists we try to help support,” Justice said.

In 2008, the Beaux Arts Ball was able to raise $23,000 for charities and scholarships, according to its website.

Last year, the Fall Ball raised $17,000, which Justice said helped them put on an even more amazing event this spring.