The gallery walls at the Morris Museum of Art display the creative history of the South. Tonight, the museum will unveil new pieces of art -- the galleries themselves.
These sanctuaries of the Southern aesthetic are being transformed into Rio, Versailles, Venice, Hong Kong and New Orleans for the museum's annual fund-raising gala, Carnival du Monde.
Now in its seventh year, the gala will feature the food, music and visual flair of each locale. Guests moving from gallery to gallery will be able to taste wine in the French-themed Versailles room before moving into the jazz-inflected atmosphere of a New Orleans-themed space.
The event represents a marked contrast to last year's Southern-themed gala.
"We want to make this event a surprise every year, make sure it's not the same party every time," said organizer Beth Jones.
The event will feature performances by the Frankie Moreno Band of Nashville, Tenn., and the Davidson Fine Arts School Jazz Quintet. Ms. Jones said the musical acts were chosen based on experience.
"I think we've learned from previous years that people would rather be entertained than dance," she said. "In the small space we have it's so hard to even have a dance band. The biggest challenge in organizing this is always space restraints."
The gala will also include a silent art auction of 20 works. The centerpiece of the auction will be Carolina Gold, by Jonathan Green, a painting valued at more than $8,000.
A raffle is also being held, with 200 $100 tickets. The winner will receive a trip for two to the Four Seasons Resort in Nevis, West Indies.
Proceeds are used to acquire works for the museum, or they go to the Museum Endowment Fund.
Cheryl O'Keefe, a volunteer chairwoman of the event, said the gala also increases the museum's public exposure.
"I think that because the art is on the walls during the gala, it acts as a trigger," she said. "People who may have come merely to enjoy the event are able to see it and maybe understand what exactly the work of the museum means."
Evening of art
What: The Morris Museum of Art's Carnival du Monde gala
When: 7:30 tonight
Where: The Morris Museum of Art, 1 10th St.
Admission: $150, $85 for Young at Art members
Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 .