For those who missed their chance to experience the mystical world of Nicolina Johnson via “13 Portals,” the Inaugural Monochromatic Costume Ball promises to bring the artist’s world of whimsy to the Lower Eastside Girls Club this Thursday. A dream for anyone who ever took “matchy-matchy” as a compliment, guests are invited to dress head to toe in the color of their choice for a night of waltzing and dining on monochromatic food and cocktails.
There will be activities along the lines of “Portals,” an interactive public art game that took over the East Village back in 2013; afterwards the festivities will continue with a parade to an “undisclosed location,” which we can only hope lives up to the surreal spectacles that were Nicolina’s East Village Mad Hatter Tea Parties.
The event is both an exhibition of and a fundraiser for Johnson’s project “Hearts of the World.” Since 2010, Johnson has traveled to Japan, Haiti and other locations across the globe to host children’s workshops. She provided empty outlines of anatomical hearts and asked the kids to fill them in with drawings of their hopes, dreams and fears.
Now the project is returning back home to the Girls Club, the site the first “Hearts” workshop. At the Ball nearly 100 pieces of the children’s art from around the world will be on display for the first time.
“Helping kids find their passion is my passion; it’s powerful work,” Nicolina said in a press release. “Children can learn so much about themselves through painting their hearts, and they have so much to teach us all well.”
But Johnson’s work isn’t done yet. The proceeds from the Ball will support yet another leg of the “Hearts of the World” tour—this time, she’s going to India. From March 16 to June 27, the project will host a twelve-part workshop series that will include visits to young victims of the chemical disaster in Bhopal, a school for the deaf in Chennai, and an orphanage in Varanasi that “aspires to raise heart centered citizens.”
Following the tour, all the hearts will come together for retrospective gallery shows in New York and New Delhi, where Johnson will tell the stories behind the hearts of India and screen excerpts from an upcoming documentary film about the project.
The Ball will also have a silent auction with prizes ranging from chocolate “aphrodisiacs” to original art by street artist SWOON, and a costume photo booth will make on-the-spot E-cards for friends and Valentines.
The Ball will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. this Thursday at the Lower Eastside Girls Club, 402 East 8th Street, Manhattan. Tickets are $12 pre-sale, $15 at the door in monochromatic attire and $20 in polychromatic attire.