Benefit Oct. 21 for homeless shelter expected to open at the end of the year
By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Organizers of the Belknap House Masquerade Ball have enlisted the assistance of local artists and designers to create a unique and inspiring atmosphere for the ball, which will be held on Friday, Oct. 21, at the St. Andre Bessette Parish Hall.
The ball is a key fundraising event for Belknap House, a newly formed nonprofit family homeless shelter which will open later this year on Court Street in Laconia. Belknap House's mission, according board President Colleen Garrity, is to provide families in Belknap County a safe shelter, especially in cold weather months, when children are at risk during homelessness, and to empower families to become self sufficient and independent by making resources and educational opportunities available.
The evening will open with a silent auction and cocktails at 6 p.m., followed by a welcome to all guests at 7 p.m. A dinner prepared by Recipe for Success, a part of the New Hampshire Food Bank, will be served at 7:30 p.m. Dancing, with music provided by DJ Chris Laluna, starts at 8:45 p.m.
"We're working to turn the basketball court into a ballroom and make it really spectacular," said Edie Gault, Masquerade Ball Committee chairman. She said artists who are taking part include:
• Marlene Makowski, who is a professional event designer for fundraisers and other large functions and is also employed as the administrator of a Catholic Charities residence home in Manchester.
• Joseph Kildune, who is creating the chandeliers for the Masquerade Ball ceiling. He is employed at Autoserv in Tilton and creates large sculptures from auto body parts. He has a studio in Franklin and is part of the efforts to revitalize Franklin's downtown. For many years he was employed as an industrial designer in New York City and holds several patents.
• Jeri Bothamley, who is painting the giant pumpkin sculpture for the walkway into the ball and some of the masks. She is also volunteering her services as the interior designer for Belknap House. She is an interior designer, muralist, and well-known, juried local oil painter.
• Matthew Gault, who is building many of the props for the ball and also designed the ball's billboard advertising sign on Route 106. He is owner and operator of AquaGreens, where he designs and builds floating golf greens for driving ranges and does custom manufacturing for special events, movie props and corporate marketing events.
• Heather Hilton-Gault, who is painting some of the props for the ball. She is an artist whose specialty is abstract oil landscape. She has a Master's in Fine Arts from Leslie College and wanted to lend her artistic skills to help make the ball a fundraising success for Belknap House.
• Elaine Morrison-Smith, who is painting masks for the ball and has donated one of her framed paintings to the ball's silent auction. She is juried artist who has shown her works in many galleries around the state; she specializes in subject matter pertaining to those in the military and to those suffering hardships such as the homeless and the physically handicapped. She is very active in local social outreach efforts, such as the River Crew Arts, Stand Up Laconia, and Navigating Recovery. She is a retired special education teacher.
• Dick Smith is painting masks and has donated one of his a framed photographs to the ball's silent auction. He is a photographer and uses this skill in his work in the community with those populations suffering hardships such as the homeless, the physically handicapped, and substance abusers. He is very active in local social outreach efforts such as the River Crew Arts, Stand Up Laconia, and Navigating Recovery, and is a retired master's level social worker.
Meredith Village Savings Bank is the Platinum level, $5,000, sponsor for the masquerade ball, which Edie Gault says will become an annual event to help support the shelter.
"Our shelter, plus the education and resources we will be offering at Belknap House, helps families and children get on the right path," said Gault. "We're grateful to MVSB for sponsoring the ball at the Platinum level during this crucial time, as we simultaneously work to open the shelter and plan our first annual gala."
The shelter will also serve as a hostel for visitors of the Lakes Region from June through September. For more information about the Masquerade Ball and Belknap House, visit belknaphouse.org or facebook.com/belknaphouse.
Planning for the Belknap House Masquerade Ball are, seated; Edie Gault, chair of the Masquerade Ball Committee; Elaine Morrison-Smith, Marlene Makowski, Heather Hilton-Gault; standing, Jeri Bothamley; Dick Smith, Joseph Kildune and Matthew Gault. The ball will be held Friday Oct. 21, at the St. Andre Bessette Parish Hall on Union Avenue in Laconia. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)