The Ava Gardner Museum has hosted a year-long Centennial celebration in honor of the legendary actress, fashion icon, and humanitarian Ava Gardner, a North Carolina native who grew up just 7-miles east of Smithfield. This year’s Ava Gardner Festival, scheduled for October 6-8th, concludes the year-long celebration.
The Ava Gardner Museum Board of Directors is excited to announce renowned costumier James Kelly as a special guest and collaborator for this year’s Ava Gardner Festival. Mr. Kelly will be at the opening of the new “Show Boat Costumes“ exhibit and “A Toast to Ava” reception.
“The reception, on Friday October 6th, will start at 5 pm at the Ava Gardner Museum. Guests will enjoy a presentation by James Kelly on the Show Boat costumes designed by Walter Plunkett”, stated Lynell Seabold, Museum Executive Director. “We are also excited to offer a free film screening of Show Boat at the new Neuse River Amphitheater in Downtown Smithfield at 7:30 pm, weather permitting.”
James Kelly was born in Cornwall and studied fashion at Falmouth School of Art and Design, and costume construction at the London College of Fashion. Upon graduating he secured a position in the wardrobe department for the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where he worked for 20 years. After leaving the Royal Opera House, he took the position of Head of Wardrobe with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. After returning to England from New Zealand he took up a post in the touring wardrobe with English National Ballet.
James has always had a life-long love of film and costume is his passion. He is an authority on the work of Walter Plunkett and the history of costume in Hollywood. Besides working with English National Ballet, he works with collectors of Hollywood costumes helping them to identify pieces and making replica Hollywood costumes on his YouTube Channel: James Kelly London.
The reception will also include Ava’s favorite coconut cake prepared by Buttermilk Boutique, Ava Gardner Signature sparkling wine Celebration, released by the Ava Gardner Trust in collaboration with Seven Jars Winery and Nostra Vita Family Winery, and light refreshments.
The festival will include a multitude of exciting events, as the museum unveils new exhibits, conducts heritage tours, hosts special film and video presentations, and more. Including a visit from Vincent Price’s daughter Victoria on Saturday, October 7th; she will talk about her father’s career and relationship with Ava. They starred together in the film, The Bribe, a film noir from 1949 directed by Robert Z. Leonard. Victoria will hold a book signing event following her presentation and will introduce the film with a short review of Vincent’s and Ava’s friendship formed during the filming of the project.
“Be sure to check out our gift shop for Ava 100 merchandise and officially licensed Ava Gardner products. Sign-up for our newsletter and stay tuned to our social media, blog, and website for all the latest updates and future announcements about our plans for this year’s festival. You don’t want to miss it”, continued Seabold.
The Ava Gardner Museum is located in Downtown Smithfield, at 325 E. Market Street, convenient to hotels offering special rates for the weekend, and nearby local shops and restaurants also planning to celebrate the weekend with special offers. For more information, visit www.avagardnerfestival.com and purchase tickets for all festival-related events here.