|The dress from The Great Sinner.|
DB: The festival is our 14th annual celebration of the museum’s opening in this location and is also our main fundraiser. As a non-profit, we rely solely upon the income of our visitors and the generous donations to help provide the funding necessary to operate and maintain our facility. Each festival has its own theme; this year’s is “Ava’s Closet: Her Personal Fashion and Style.” On Friday evening, we have a Fashion Fling party which will feature the unveiling of the Ava’s Closet exhibit with never-before-seen wardrobes of her glamor--her everyday--and her intimate-wear; the Sinatra-style entertainment of The Carolina Crooner; and hors d’ouevres and local wines and beers provided by the new downtown restaurant Serendipity Road. Saturday, we will feature a talk by our celebrity guest, Season 12 Project Runway fashion designer and upcoming All-Star Justin LeBlanc, followed by a meet and greet, all from 9-11am. Heritage Tours of significant spots in Ava’s childhood and her gravesite will take place throughout the day. With admission, there will also be free movie screenings of The Killers and The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean. Saturday evening, the festivities will move to the Clayton Center as we team up with the Clayton Piano Festival in their special tribute to Ava in Show Boat and her love of flamenco followed by a meet-and-greet with the artist, and a dessert and coffee reception. On Sunday, the museum will host extended hours from 1-5pm and will show a screening of The African Queen (directed by Ava’s friend John Huston; and following on the Raleigh film festival’s tribute series to him), which is free with admission. Prices and packaging information can be found on our website, www.avagardner.org or by calling us directly at (919) 934-5830.
Café: Back to Bert Pfeiffer, who was he and why did he add such offbeat embellishments as a mouse on Ava's sleeve?
DB: Bert Pfeiffer was a Dutch artist who saw Ava in One Touch of Venus in 1948 and was captivated by her beauty. Every year for the next 50 years, he painted a different painting of Ava, despite never meeting her. Some of Ava’s traveling friends happened upon his gallery and asked if she would like one of his paintings. She replied that she would purchase three; they are now displayed in the theater. Pfeiffer’s family donated his collection to the museum after his death in accordance with his wishes. No one is really certain why Pfeiffer chose to display these different embellishments in many of the paintings; although they don’t appear in every one. It is usually chalked up to artist expression. The museum gift shop is honoring Pfeiffer by releasing a limited edition postcard of one of Pfeiffer’s paintings every year, beginning in 2014.
Café: How did Gregory Peck get involved with the Ava Gardner Museum?
DB: Gregory Peck and Ava were lifelong friends after starring together in The Great Sinner (1949). They would go on to star in two other films together and had a wonderful time. After Ava’s death, Peck took in Ava’s housekeeper and friend Carmen Vargas, as well as Ava’s beloved corgi, Morgan. Peck visited the museum before his death while filming in Raleigh. He was a member of the Honorary Advisory Board and held an open position on our Board of Directors to offer his input and support to the museum. His family still maintains ties with us and we are very honored to announce that his daughter Cecilia Peck Voll and Carmen will both continue by sitting on the new Honorary Advisory Board in the future.
DB: The Ava Gardner Heritage Trail is a project that was recently finished, thanks to the support of The Winston-Salem Foundation. The trail highlights geographical points of interest regarding Ava’s life and her family history here in Johnston County, North Carolina. The trail map is displayed in the museum and fliers with a brief historical synopsis and directions are provided to guests free of charge.
Café: What are some of your personal favorites of Ava's movies?
|Ava in The Barefoot Contessa.|
DB: We are currently in talks with other institutions who house pieces of Ava memorabilia. Our goal is to get loans for some iconic artifacts which our visitors can see all in one place. There are no specific exhibit plans in place, but we are always brainstorming. Before very long, we will outline something new for the following year. So we will keep you updated!
Café: What advice would you give to an Ava Gardner fan visiting the museum for the first time?
|The entrance to the museum.|
You can learn more about the Ava Gardner Museum by visiting its excellent web site at www.avagardner.org, "liking" it on Facebook, and following it on Twitter. All photos, except for The Barefoot Contessa, are courtesy of the Ava Gardner Museum and the permission to use them is on a project-by-project basis.