Masquerade aims to promote Black businesses through art, food and music

Erica Hobbs
Special to The Detroit News

Sunday’s Spirit of Art Masquerade aims to promote Black businesses through an evening of art, food and music. The event is organized by Christopher Pyant, owner of ChrisConnections, and Events To Remember event planners.

“The idea is that I wanted to make a cool and fun thing to do to support and put people on a platform, so they get their names out there,” he said.

Local painter Rutanie will be the evening’s featured artist, whose work has been featured in galleries including the Carr Center, the Baltimore Gallery, the Sherwood Forest Art Gallery and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

Spirit of Arts Masquerade will feature artwork from Rutanie, whose work has been featured in galleries including the Carr Center, the Baltimore Gallery, the Sherwood Forest Art Gallery and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

Through various mediums, including pointillism, watercolor and acrylic paints, Rutanie describes her work as a mix of abstract and realism. She said she likes to paint nature and various parts of the body, with themes ranging from social justice issues to cheating boyfriends to women’s discontent with their bodies.

“A lot of my artwork does bring life to situations like that, and to help people remember important things,” she said.

Rutanie's work will be available for purchase from $80 to $300. She will also be raffling off one painting to guests.

Xaviar Jaramillo, “Chef Xav,” will provide a gourmet amuse-bouche menu with strolling small bites, including lamb chops in red wine sauce, fried chicken balls with velouté sauce, large shrimp with cheesy grits, mushroom-stuffed wontons and more. Fresh, homemade pizza will be available at the end of the night to take home.

“It’s a play on traditional and classic foods that we hope people will enjoy,” he said.

Ronise Nicole will perform that evening, who Pyant described as a jazzy, R&B-type singer.

“She’s an up-and-coming artist,” he said. “She’s always been in music, but she’s not gotten out there, she’s somebody that hopefully the platform will help and boost.”

Pyant said the idea for the masquerade theme was a play off the masks people have been wearing during the pandemic and now putting the mask on their eyes. He said he planned the event during a time when COVID-19 numbers were dropping, and places were re-opening. But with the delta variant and rising cases of COVID, guests will be required to wear masks on their noses and mouths as well. The event will also check temperatures when people arrive and will have a hand sanitizer station.

Guests are welcome to bring their own masks, but Pyant said they will be provided. The dress code is casual.

While Pyant said he wants people to support African American-owned businesses, he wants people to come to have a great time.

“It’s really like a high-class style event that’s custom built,” he said. “It’s like somebody came in and planned a great party for you.”

Spirit of Arts Masquerade

7:15-10 p.m. Sunday

at Events to Remember

21421 Hilltop, Suite 29, Southfield

Tickets: $75 for individuals and can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com; $140 for couples, which must be purchased by calling (248) 213-8981 or email at thechrisconnections@gmail.com.