The Contemporaries’ 2020 Winter Bash drew a record-breaking crowd of 340 to the Portland Museum of Art the evening of Feb. 27 for a lively celebration inspired by current exhibit “Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe: Tabernacles for Trying Times.” The colorful collection of work by painter Moyer and fiber installation artist Pepe reimagines a tabernacle as a place for exploring ideas of justice, equality and knowing.

“It’s warm and inviting, an immersive experience,” Contemporaries member Jess McCarthy Myer said about the exhibit, which includes a lounge and tactile elements. “It’s bold and exciting.”

Inspired by the exhibit’s call to self-truth, Winter Bash organizers invited guests to dress in their “true colors,” said trustee Lila Hunt Davies, wearing a rainbow snakeskin-print, off-the-shoulder gown. “Everybody is wearing something different, and it’s a lot of fun to see all the styles,” she said.

Dancers Mizz Deevina and Miss Spreada LaJoy undoubtably wore the most eye-catching apparel, but many museum supporters displayed remarkable creativity in their own costuming.

Lindsay Stone made a statement with a black leather jacket adorned with spikes, Becky McKinnell created a nautical look with shells, and rope and Carina Cilluffo got a little patriotic with gown and crown reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty. Trustee Alec Porteous paired Mainer red plaid with a tuxedo, Truong Vo finally had somewhere to wear a rainbow rugby shirt, and Henry Austin was easy to find in a cowboy hat.

“The Bash is an escape from winter dreariness,” said Margaret Ybarra, wearing a canary yellow summer dress.

Bash tickets and Contemporaries memberships could be purchased together, which brought the number of members to nearly 250 by the end of February.

The “Tabernacles for Trying Times” exhibit is open through June 7.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at [email protected].


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