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Power Ball Presented by Max Mara

This year on May 31st, the Power Plant's major annual fundraiser and one of Toronto's biggest events will be taking place.

Under the big top of The Power Plant, artists from all over will be reimagining the space into a carnival that arouses all senses. This year it's bigger than ever with a funfair theme it's a truly unique experience of art, gastronomy and more - not to mention the unbeatable Toronto skyline as the backdrop.

We're super excited, and this year we got the opportunity to interview Jen Grant, Toronto-based entrepreneur, partner at DaiLo restaurant and co-chair of this spectacular event.

So, to learn more about one of the most enticing parties of Toronto, keep on reading:

Before, we get into the event can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved with this event?

I always find it hard to talk about myself! I used to live in London and as I write this, I’m traveling around Indonesia with my husband and four young children. I have a PhD in history but I love food and I’m currently focused on supporting my partners at DaiLo, a restaurant here in Toronto, and being present for my kids. And of course, I’m thrilled to be co-chairing the Power Ball XX committee. The more I learn about The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, the more I love it! Its range of programming is so impressive - it really has something for everyone, whether you are new to contemporary art or a long time collector or follower of the field. We are so lucky to have such a cutting edge contemporary art gallery such as this in this city! I have of course attended Power Ball in the past and when a wonderful friend of mine who was a co-chair last year asked me if I’d be interested, I jumped at the opportunity. I’m proud to be contributing to such a vibrant and important art scene.

Tell us a little bit about Power Ball XX and what people can expect when they attend?

The very first Power Ball, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery's major annual fundraiser, took place 20 years ago in 1998. Since then, the event has established itself as a marquee event in Toronto as the city’s notorious annual art party – full of one-night-only art exhibitions, serving up the best in contemporary food and culture, and the place to meet exciting cultural producers, artists, and creative thinkers and makers of all kinds. Expect a night of unexpected discoveries, art exploration and excitement at The Power Plant – located in the heart of the downtown, right by the waterfront.

This is the 20th year for Power Ball XX, how will this event showcase that or celebrate that? / Reading about it I saw that the theme will be “carnival” inspired. What inspired the “carnival” theme of this years event?

As you mentioned, this is the 20th Power Ball and we thought this would be a perfect time to celebrate the fundraiser's reputation as the art world's unofficial adult funland – and really revel in the mischievousness, playfulness and conviviality that comes with that.

The theme of "Carousal" really showcases what Power Ball does best: creating this ecstatic, carnivalesque mashup of all the best in contemporary culture art, food, and drink. We invite you all to join us under the "Big Top" of The Power Plant on May 31 to do just that, as the gallery is transformed into a space of circusry fit for the fundraiser’s big, bacchanalian birthday celebration.

What does it mean to have Max Mara as a partner for this event?

Max Mara has been an incredibly generous supporter of Power Ball and The Power Plant and we're very pleased to be working with them again for the fourth consecutive year. In addition to support The Power Plant, the fashion house has numerous initiatives dedicated to contemporary art and, especially, women in the arts; and as Canada's leading contemporary art gallery the partnership is a perfect fit for the two of us. It's an honour to be counted alongside institutions such as the Whitechapel Gallery in London and New York's Whitney Museum of American Art as one of their initiatives. Their support - along with the support of all of Power Ball's sponsors and donors - directly helps to continue The Power Plant's work in presenting the best in cutting-edge contemporary art.

Will there be a section for them in the event space or a Max Mara installation for the event?

Yes! As with the past two years, Max Mara will be inviting the winner of the Max Mara Young Visionary Award (in partnership with the National YoungArts Foundation), which will be announced prior to Power Ball, to showcase their craft on-site in a way that integrates with the party and celebrates Max Mara's initiatives in the arts. Max Mara will take over the front of house space, welcoming guests with another activation that highlights the fashion house's clothing line.

This is a fundraiser event, can you tell our readers a little about the cause and what the money raised will be going towards? What can people expect from the silent auction?

Though Power Ball takes place over just one night, this fundraiser raises vital funds for The Power Plant, and us – as visitors to the space, as engaged citizens in our community and our world – to continue experiencing the best in contemporary art year-round at the gallery through their exhibitions and educational programs.

The Power Plant brings famed living artists from Canada and around the world – who have shown in museums like New York's Museum of Modern Art, London's Tate Modern, and many more – here to Toronto, and gives us opportunities through artist talks, childrens' artmaking workshops, and other educational and outreach programs, to engage further with these artists' work. With events such as Power Ball, one of many that the gallery hosts, The Power Plant expands our connections with the institution – and beyond – as an integral forum for advancing artistic culture.

The silent auction is another way, besides ticket sales, to generate donations for the night of the event. Guests can did on high-end prizes such as curated vacations to unique dining experiences: a stay-cation at the Four Seasons, an iconic Max Mara coat, a night out at a Blue Jays game, and more.

Tell us a little bit about the artists and their installations for the night, what can people expect to see?

We just announced our Pre-Party Artist, which takes place in the earlier portion of the night from 7 - 9 PM: the experience design-duo Bompas & Parr, "modern day Willy Wonkas", who will transform the Pre-Party space into a "Flavour Funfair". An artistic and taste-centric approach on the funfair of yesteryear, the experience will be inspired by traditional rides and childhood fan favourites – think carnival slides, games and house of horrors – and be re-imagined by incorporating powerful taste components that exoticize the guests’ experience. The London-based duo has been known for creating memorable, innovative projects such as a Alcoholic Architecture, Flavoured Fireworks and more, so this Power Ball Pre-Party is definitely not to be missed.

In addition to Bompas & Parr’s art installation, guests at the Pre-Party will be treated to a food and drink experience catered by DaiLo. Working in tandem with the artistic duo, DaiLo will create dishes that are juxtapositions between the old and new, coinciding perfectly with this year’s highly anticipated theme.

The main Power Ball Party artists will be announced later in March/early April – all their projects will play on this theme of "carousal" and "the carnivalesque", so stay tuned for that!

Why do you think it is so important to celebrate art in Canada?

It's important to celebrate art everywhere and in Canada we are lucky to have a gallery like The Power Plant that can draw such a diverse range of artists from within our borders and around the world. Through their art, artists help document and question and criticize the complexities of the world we live in. It’s amazing to me how a piece of art can be so rooted in a time and place, and yet be appreciated all over the world and for generations. Contemporary art appeals to its audience intellectually, but also emotionally. When I go to a gallery, I always feel so intellectually stimulated and fulfilled, but what stays with me for days after is a sense of hope. There’s something inherently optimistic about the creation of art.

For the readers who want to attend where can they purchase tickets?

Tickets go fast, so be sure to purchase yours now at powerball.thepowerplant.org!

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