Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

‘Marti’ Gras Ball will help Arts League continue arts education for all ages

Mardi Gras celebration at Rahr Brewery

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Guests arriving at the annual Arts League gala on Feb. 10 will be transported to the New Orleans French Quarter as they step inside for the Marti Gras Ball. The venerable all-volunteer organization has gone all out to ensure a festive evening of special music, cocktails, a delectable catered dinner, auctions and dancing.

“We want our guests to enjoy the feeling of New Orleans and Mardi Gras,” said Arts League president and event chair Elaine Strain. “The entertainment includes a pre-dinner tribute to authentic Mardi Gras Dixieland music just as heard in the French Quarter and on Bourbon Street while you enjoy a drink with friends, preview our silent auction items and buy your raffle tickets.”

Devotees of this event will be thrilled that the Buzz Murphy Orchestra will make another appearance featuring Grammy-nominated vocalist, Bregget Rideau, a native of New Orleans. This group can play anything well, and they’ll do a fine job with lots of New Orleans-inspired tunes mixed in with their broad repertoire.

Notable among the silent auction swag are tickets to Dallas Summer Musicals and to Symphony Arlington along with a seven-day vacation at the San Luis Bay Inn Resort in Avila Beach, California. Who will win and how much will be fun to find out in the 50/50 raffle planned.

A separate raffle will feature a 50-inch smart TV, handmade pottery created by master potter Linh Nguyen and an amazing riverboat cruise. Tickets will be sold at the party and the drawing will happen later in the spring at the scholarship awards reception.

It takes a lot of work to pull off a party of this magnitude, and lots of folks on the event committee deserve a shoutout. They include: Barbara Saucier Bowers, Judy Duke, Nancy York, Suzy York, Dana Gatti, Dorothy Rencurrel, Jon Spencer Stewart and Nancy Tice.

Proceeds from the event will fund the fine arts scholarships granted to UTA, TCC Southeast Campus and seniors graduating from Arlington ISD who are pursuing a career in one of the fine arts. Money raised will also help continue the ArtReach program that brings the arts to seniors and to children as well as the docent programs in Arlington classrooms.

Tickets are $85 per person or a table of eight is only $600. Reservations are due Feb. 3. The venue is the Arlington Woman’s Club at 1515 W. Abram St. Black tie is optional, but having fun is required. Make arrangements by calling 817-274-5790 or send an email to artsleague@arlingtonartsleague.com

New Discovery Room now open at River Legacy Living Science Center

Families across the area will now have the opportunity to enjoy a newly renovated attraction at the River Legacy Living Science Center. The main exhibit hall reopened on Monday to show off a $2.5 million makeover recently completed.

Now called the Discovery Room, the space has the latest in hands-on technology in new exhibits and state-of-the-art features. There’s new interactive screens, for example, where guests can have a virtual experience in woodland habitats as they learn about wildlife and play games. Through the magic of simulation, you can even see ecosystems change with the season right before your eyes.

On one screen, guests can compete with a lifelike lizard doing pushups. On another, guests can jump alongside a frog to see how it feels to jump for your dinner. While I was there, I saw as many adults as kids in front of the screen, and we all abandoned our inhibitions to enjoy the amazing virtual experiences. The area also sports two large aquariums and new exhibits, many of them at eye level for little ones.

“We are so excited to finally be able to open the Discovery Room and share with our guests such an amazing, interactive and fun learning experience,” said Jill Hill, executive director. “It has been a growing process, but the new exhibits and experiences are definitely worth the wait.”

The interactive wall was designed by 900lbs of Creative, whose design credits include The Perot Museum and the Dallas Cowboys Jumbotron and Parallax videos. The new exhibits were created by Split Rock Studios in Minneapolis, which has designed exhibits for nature centers across the country.

Admission to the Discovery room is $3 for children (ages 3 to 12), $5 for adults (13 to 59) and $4 for seniors. The atrium area of the Science Center and surrounding nature trails will still be free for visitors, and free Saturday programs and festivals will still be offered. During these special events, guests can visit the Discovery Room without cost.

Upcoming festivals are: Great Backyard Bird Count on Feb. 17, Earth Day on April 14, and WATER Festival on September 8.

“We are grateful to all of our donors who helped make this transformation possible. Because of them, we are now able to engage more children and families with the natural world by connecting on their level, by integrating technology and nature to further our mission of growing the next generation of environmental stewards,” Hill said.

Learn more at www.riverlegacy.org or call 817-860-6752.

Events at a glance

Parent 2 Parent program is Feb. 9 at noon at The Oakridge School Early Childhood Center, 5900 W. Pioneer Parkway. Jennifer Jones, an author, consultant, and longtime leader in early childhood education, will lead the session, "A Balancing Act: How to Balance Social Skills in a Technology Era." Visit goo.gl/HLccX6 to learn more about the entire parenting series. Call 817-451-4994 or email bgarton@theoakridgeschool.org to inquire.

Pirates on the Prairie VII concert is Sat, Feb 10 at the historic Uptown Theater in Grand Prairie. It is an evening of pirate music, swashbuckling fun, and nautical nonsense for the whole family. The concert stars the official pirate band of Grand Prairie, the Bilge Pumps, in an event sure to get everyone talking like a pirate. Joining them on stage will be the Selkie Girls from Dallas who will open the show with their own brand of Celtic and folk music. Also appearing will be the pirate poetry dispensing crew, the Seadog Slam, who will be entertaining everyone with salty rhymes in the lobby. Call the box office at 972-237-8786 for advance tickets or purchase at the door. www.piratesontheprairie.thebilgepumps.com.

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