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Going Behind the Mask

Attendees at last year's event

Attendees at the 2013 Columbus Arts Ball

Every year, a masquerade ball is held in Columbus that raises awareness for an underfunded cause. Attendees come dressed to impress in their cocktail attire and mysterious masks for an evening of artwork, music and awareness. In 2014, the Columbus Arts Ball (CAB) will not only raise awareness about a cause, but raise funds for it, too.


Ryan Hartley founded the CAB in 2009. His community service background through Alpha Phi Omega inspired him to start this annual fundraising ball. In the past, the CAB sought to raise awareness about a specific underfunded, local cause. Since it now hopes to raise funds for the featured causes, it is becoming a non-profit foundation. Each year, the CAB chooses a different cause to support in the areas of cancer research, health or children. The CAB also aims to educate the public about the cause not only through this fundraising ball, but through artwork as well.


2013 Columbus Arts Ball.

2013 Columbus Arts Ball.

The cause is always local to the Central Ohio region. The CAB works to highlight local artists in Central Ohio, featuring artwork during the ball and including entertainers on stage. The CAB has a commitment to keeping everything local, including the artists, the cause, and the entertainment.


While the idea for the CAB was put on paper in 2009, the first event took place in March of 2011.   “I had been putting on a lot of individual events up to that point and merged the best items from several events together to make the masquerade event,” says Hartley.


While the cause for the 2014 CAB has not yet been announced, planning for the event is underway. The 2014 event will be different from previous years. It will be the first CAB that is focused on fundraising, rather than just raising awareness. As it is every year, the CAB will be a masquerade ball, but in 2014, they plan on making it the largest ball yet. “In 2014 we will be focusing on more artwork than any year past,” says Hartley. Patrons will be invited to participate in painting on large canvases all around the event space and the ball will feature a big band, giving a 1920’s swing vibe to the evening.


Insightly_2Each patron is asked to wear black and white cocktail attire with a colorful mask. If the cause being supported doesn’t have a specific color associated with it, shades of blue are suggested for the mask colors. In addition to dancing and eating, the event also includes education, with the cause presenting information and providing materials for the patrons to take with them after the event ends.


In addition to Hartley’s commitment to the CAB, he works as an Information Technology Consultant for Infoverity.


“As I sit in hotel rooms every night after consulting in new and different cities I have a lot of time to think through how to make CAB bigger and better,” he says. When he is traveling, he enjoys camping, white water rafting, and snow skiing. When Hartley has free time in Columbus, he likes to go to wine tastings and sporting events.


To learn more about the Columbus Arts Ball, click here.


 Photo Credits: Mark Poprocki



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