Like so many businesses in the Keys, it has been a long road to recovery for Fishermen’s Community Hospital. The Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball takes aim at aiding this cause and providing a night of well-mannered New Orleans-themed frivolity.

Taking place on Saturday, Mar. 2 from 6 to 9 p.m., the event will spill over from the Royal Furniture showroom into a large tent rented for the evening. A $125 ticket gives entrance to the event, an open bar, a Cajun meal prepared by the Elwell family, New Orleans jazz-style music, and the opportunity to bid on live and silent auction items.

The auction features the work of two talented artists — Caleb Goins, a former Marathon resident, and Jason Robinson, who lives on Grassy Key. Both are worth a sneak peek.

Many locals will recognize the precision-crafted aluminum sculptures donated by Goins. (Locals have seen his pieces at Brutus Seafood and at Florida Keys Steak and Lobster House.) Goins specializes in bringing aquatic scenes to life through highly realistic freehand drawings cut into sheets of aluminum.

Jason Robinson

Goins’ father first introduced him to this art form 17 years ago. From there, as he described, he took his passion for art and honed his skills as his drawing abilities progressed. Today, his pieces are drawn entirely freehand before being carved into an aluminum sheet with a plasma torch. “It’s all based around steady hand movement and concentration,” Goins said. “It’s basically like drawing with fire.” Once the cutting process is complete, Caleb brings the work to life by grinding and polishing surfaces in a variety of ways to give the finished piece a three-dimensional appearance.

Goins has pledged to donate both a mermaid piece and a bull mahi scene in the hopes of helping the community rebuild its hospital. “I don’t live in the Keys any more, but it’s still a community I very much love and respect,” he said. “When people come together to rebuild a hospital, that’s something pretty amazing. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

Party goers can bid on two aluminum sculptures (similar to this one) by Caleb Goins. CONTRIBUTED

Attendees also will be able to bid on a specially commissioned piece by Jason Robinson of Fish Tales Wood Creations. Marathon residents will most likely recognize Robinson’s work from the large wooden fish on display at Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters, or perhaps from the pieces in several private homes around the island.

Caleb Goins

Robinson began experimenting with wood creations in high school, but put his art on hold for a short time due to a lack of space. His first creations were two-dimensional pieces, but as his skills increased he began to create in a three-dimensional space. Today, he said, each successive piece seems to get a little better.

Robinson said his wooden fish created specifically for the gala auction will feature his work’s signature element: a cartoon style with exaggerated features. Living in the Keys, he said that it’s in his own best interest to avoid a realistic style and enjoy his artistic liberties. “The piece is my contribution, and I hope it can be a drop in the bucket,” Robinson said.

Only 250 tickets will be sold for the Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball. To purchase, call Kim Gregory at 305-393-5720 or stop by the Royal Furniture showroom. Attendees interested in familiarizing themselves with Goins’ and Robinson’s work may do so by searching Caleb Goins Art on Instagram and Facebook or by visiting Fish Tales Wood Creations on Facebook.

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