Kirkland Art Center’s Cirque du Surreal celebrates the imagination this October | The Eastside Scene

Artist Salvador Dali’s melting clocks, a ring master at a circus, and flapper girls from the 1920s.

Cirque du Surreal is coming to town.

The Kirkland Arts Center will celebrate its annual ARTbeat benefit gala at Westin Bellevue on Oct. 28.

The theme of the night? A combination of surrealism and 1920s era circus life.

Development and events coordinator Amanda Reeves described the theme as a “strange, fun, dreamscape.”

The major fundraiser for the center is known for its lively entertainment, dancing and costumes. Joshua Crouch with Spectrum Dance and his student ensemble, called The Academy, will perform, as they have crafted choreography specifically for the gala. Throughout the night, there will be a silent auction with a golden ticket raffle, as well as a live auction. Art from more than 30 local artists, as well as fine wine, dining, travel opportunities and other activities will be available for auction. David Silverman will be the auctioneer and Ron Hippe will be the emcee.

Some local Eastside artists include:

  • Pam Beer (Issaquah) – Painting
  • Larry Calkins (Issaquah) – Mixed Media
  • Beverly Ash Gilbert (Kirkland) – Painting and Textiles
  • Donna Porter (Kirkland) – Ceramics and Painting
  • Carole Weaks (Sammamish) – Jewelry
  • Michael Dickter (Kirkland) – Painting

“This year, we’re featuring one of the artists who is part of our community,” Reeves said. “Donna Porter has been part of the Kirkland Arts Center for a long time.”

Reeves said Porter will share the history and legacy of the Kirkland Arts Center, as it has been around since 1962 and is celebrating 55 years in operation.

Last year, the benefit raised more than $190,000 for the center. This year, Reeves said the goal is to reach that amount or top it and raise $200,000.

The gala will include a three-course meal and complimentary wine and cocktails.

Reeves said they’re currently pulling together style tips and inspiration for guests but said women can’t go wrong with 1920s flapper dresses, masks, hair pieces, or head scarves for a fortune teller vibe. Men should follow Salvador Dali’s trademark mustache, dress as a flapper gentlemen, or possibly a circus ring master, if they’re feeling adventurous.

Reeves said a catalog of items available for auction will be online during the week of Oct. 9 and the RSVP deadline is targeted for Oct. 16. They hope to sell about 250-275 tickets. VIP tickets, which include prime seating, will give patrons access to a champagne reception where they’ll be able to preview items in the silent auction as well as give them early bidding privileges.

For more information on the gala or ticket prices, visit

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