Into the Light Gala

Published 9:22 am Wednesday, October 6, 2021

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Tryon International Film Festival Kicks Off with an Art Gallery Theme Party


Kicking off the 2021 Tryon International Film Festival will be the elegant “Into The Light: A Black and White Gala” on Friday, Oct. 8, at the recently expanded Tryon Fine Arts Center. It will be an evening filled with red carpets, glitz and glamour, fine art in the making, epicurean delights, international celebrities and, of course, movies.

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“We are so psyched about this year’s gala,” Festival Co-Founder Beau Menetre said. “Because we were virtual last year, this year there is a pent-up longing to see and be seen. And this year’s gala will be like no other here in the past. We have taken our inspiration from the movie Into The Light, which will be showing that night. The movie is about internationally acclaimed visual artist Chuck Connelly and his descent into self isolation and his re-emergence into society, and the work he produced along that journey. We will have some of his original paintings on display, as well as works of art from local artists.

“I’m also happy to announce that Chuck Connelly is scheduled to be at the Gala, which is super exciting,” Menetre said. “We will show the movie about him and show his artwork, and he’ll be here to meet and greet. It doesn’t get any better.”

Throughout the Art Center with its many rooms and galleries, the work of local artists will be on public display for the Gala. Those artists include Margaret Curtis, Gary Turpin, Vicky Van Vynct, Bob Neely, Becky Collins, Chuck Mattern, Wan Marsh, John McMahon and more. Some of the artists will be set up to paint during the Gala, giving the patrons an insightful look at the creative process. In keeping with the art gallery theme, the Gala’s decor will include original displays and centerpieces, such as a six-foot high glass full of colorful painter’s brushes.

“Tryon is renowned for its world-class art and creativity,” Menetre said. “This is a wonderful and most appropriate opportunity to capitalize on the local talent.”

Guests are asked to arrive in semi-formal black and white attire. 

All food for the evening will be pre-packaged and sealed, prepared by caters in white cotton gloves. Drinks for the evening will be local craft beer and local fine wines.

The party will start at 5 p.m. At 7 p.m. comedian Alex Scott will open the formal presentation with a short comedy skit. He will then introduce Menetre and Kirk Golwitzer for the official welcome. The stage will then make way for the screening of Into The Light, followed by questions-and-answers with Connelly and the audience. Afterward the guests are welcome to continue enjoying themselves in the building and outside in the star-lit McMillian Gardens set against the Blue Ridge Mountains autumn backdrop. 

Scott will be the evening’s emcee. “I’ve known Alex for several years and was thrilled when he accepted my invitation to host our Gala,” Menetre said. “I guarantee he will keep you laughing until it hurts.”

Scott is known for the quick wit he brings to the stage. His ability to come up with jokes off the top of his head and connect with the crowd keeps him winning open mic competitions. The first time Scott ever touched the mic, he won second place in the DC Comedian of the Year contest. This was the motivation that drove Scott to move to New York City. He ended up staying for three years, performing at some of the hottest clubs in New York, such as Stand Up NY, Boston Comedy Club, and the Uptown Comedy Club. 

To provide a safe environment during the Gala and throughout the three-day Festival, guests will be required to wear mouth and nose coverings at all indoor events. “The Festival, the Art Center, and the entire town of Tryon are very aware and proactive in not spreading Covid,” Menetre said. “Mouth and nose coverings will be provided to anyone who needs them to enter a venue.”

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Submitted by Steve Wong