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Best of Baltimore 2017

Best fundraiser: Black and White Party

Perhaps the success of the Pratt Contemporaries’ Black and White Party lies in the Pratt Contemporaries themselves, Enoch Pratt Free Library supporters whose ages range from the 20s to the 40s.

“There’s this amazing cross-section of Baltimore’s young professionals; a racial diversity, [diversity of] gender and age, LGBTQ plus — it’s all there,” said Ned Courtemanche, who has helped helm the party the past five years.

For a formal event, they don’t take themselves too seriously.

“It’s always had a dynamic, diverse, eclectic whimsicality,” said Jacob Hodes, who’s changing roles from board chair to party committee chair this coming year.

Then there’s each year’s book-based theme — such as “Alice in Wonderland” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The sight inspires awe: over-the-top decor created by event planners Union 3 surrounding a swirl of guests clad in black and white and themed-based costumes.

Pratt Contemporaries founding chair Kate* Powell, who started the party with Chris Espenshade and Roswell Encina*, ultimately points to the location itself.

“There’s something fun and illicit about dancing and drinking in the middle of the library,” Powell said, with a grin. 

— Sloane Brown

>> Next category: Best gallery

>> 2017 Best of Baltimore winners

* This article has been updated. An earlier version referred to Kate Powell as Kay Powell and to Roswell Encina as Roswell Encina Powell.

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