TACA Custom Auction Gala’s Celebration Of 50 Years Of Funding The Arts “Tranformed” Into A Glistening Affair

The TACA Custom Auction Gala celebrating the art funding organization’s 50th anniversary was a time to glisten and shine. And on Friday, September 8, the first black-tie gala of the 2017 fall/winter fundraising season did just that. Only it wasn’t exactly for the reason some might have predicted.

Unlike years past, when it was held entirely inside the legendary Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, the guests discovered as they drove up to the auto courtyard that the gala had taken up more real estate. A large, see-thru tent complete with overhead lights and greenery, bars and a black stage surrounded by tables and chairs had been erected in the courtyard adjacent to the august hotel. Here the cocktail reception would be held, followed by the evening’s program. As for dinner, guests would saunter into the Mansion to dine and wine.

Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhart

Linda and Bill Custard

Robyn Flatt and Wilson Tarver

Don and Carol Glendenning

TACA Custom Auction Gala Co-Chairs Wanda Gierhart and Dean Fearing reported that they were planning on wedding in summer 2018…Breast cancer survivor Linda Custard topped off in snow white hair reported that husband Bill Custard had teased her the year before that, for the first time, he had more hair than she did…Dallas Children’s Theater’s Robyn Flatt was thrilled about the theater’s new mega-sign lighting that took place on Wednesday, August 30. She also added that ticket sales for the annual Cabaret were going briskly…. After checking in outside the tent, guests like Carol and Don Glendenning, Wendy and Jeremy Strick, Laura and Dennis Moon, Lynn and Allan McBee, Lisa and Bill Ogle, Katherine Wynne and John Baer, Jan Barboglio, Barbara and Steve Durham, Stacie and Steve Adams and Mimi and Rich Sterling ambled on in for drinks and the evening’s festivities.

John Baer, Katherine Wynne and Laura and Dennis Moon

Jessica Chandler

Diane and Hal Brierley

When Dallas Theater Center Associate Artistic Director Joel Ferrell called the beautiful people to start the program, the veteran high rollers discovered that things had changed from the past. Instead of having front-row tables reserved for them to raise their bid paddles, it was a first-come, first-sit situation.

Then, as the body count for the sold-out event climbed past 275, the glamorous joint started getting pretty cozy. Thankfully it wasn’t a simmering August heat wave, and the  September evening’s outdoor temperature was still lingering in the upper 70’s. Still, the couple of occasionally open tent doors weren’t letting in much of a breeze. Like Ashley Wilkes, tuxedoed men in white buttoned-up shirts with ties smiled bravely, as their lady friends fanned themselves with their bid paddles like Scarlett O’Hara on the porch of Tara. It wasn’t a question of the portable A/C units not working up to snuff. Someone said there was an A/C unit trying its best in the back of the tent. But like the Titanic lifeboat count, there just weren’t enough of the little blowhards to meet the need as the festivities continued.

Joel got things started by introducing the evening’s Co-Chairs/lovebugs Wanda Gierhart and Dean Fearing. The former Mansion/current Ritz chef with headset in place kicked things off welcoming the group. But when Wanda tried to provide an added welcome, her handheld mic proved to be a silent stick. Panic on the sidelines kicked in, and event planner Randi Steinhart scrambled on stage handing Wanda another handheld mic. It proved to be suffering from the same “Silent Sam” ailment as the other mic. Giggles arose among the guests. After repeated exchanges of dead mics with similar results and pleading looks at the production table with no results, the laughter had been replaced with awkward smiles. Trooper Wanda saved the situation by simply talking into Dean’s headset.


With a working mic in hand, TACA Chair Donna Wilhelm introduced “Celebration,” a dance commissioned by TACA to celebrate TACA’s 50th anniversary and performed by Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Bruce Wood Dance, and Dark Circles Contemporary Dance. Things were heating up. Now bid paddles were fanning at full pace, as the dancers performed flawlessly. But the icy cocktails were starting to wear off, and the body-heat temperatures table-side were rising.

Donna Wilhelm

Michelle Thomas

Katherine Bull and Jan Barboglio

Instead of going straight to the live auction, Donna returned to the stage and told of her roots in funding the New Works Fund going back to her childhood as the daughter of Polish immigrants. She was followed by incoming TACA Chair Michelle Thomas, who reported, “Did you know?” about TACA. On the front row was one of TACA’s original members Katherine Bull, who could have read chapter and verse about the days of Jane Murchison (Haber), Evelyn Lambert, Virginia Nick and the ladies getting together to raise funds for a new art group — Dallas Theater Center. But there was no mention of them or the TACA roots on this night.

The paddles kept paddling the air like a metronome at presto speed to fight off the feel of perspiration.

Louis Murad and Cyndi Phelps

Finally, it was time for auctioneer Louis Murad to lead the live auction. His aim, he’d said, was to haul in about $250,000. He said it was not going to be a repeat of the 2015 TACA Custom Auction Gala, when he had conducted the lackluster TACA auction in the cool Mansion Promenade. But as starting time neared, some, who knew they weren’t “players” or were starting to succumb to the heat, headed into the cool confines of the Mansion.

Auction sign holder

As Louis hopped on stage, he looked at the crowd of beauts and still felt confident. Two 21st century Austin Powers lovelies walked the stage like boxing ring girls holding signs designating the package for the crowd that was starting to look like a formally attired hot-yoga class. Flutes that had held champagne were drained. Makeup was starting to show premature signs of melting. Slender gals in gowns, who had stilettoed their way over the cobblestone courtyard, were now leaning against the tent’s walls, looking like wilted daisies. One woman at a front-row table stood. Louis asked if she was rising to bid. No, she was headed to the bar for a couple of drinks for friends. Items that had been described as “priceless,” were barely hitting the five-figure neighborhood.

Thanks to Diane and Hal Brierley, the evening’s bidding venture wasn’t a total loss, with their taking home dinner with Dean Fearing and Cowboy greats (Troy Aikman, Daryl Johnston and Emmitt Smith) for $32,500. Alas, Louis’ goal of a quarter of a million bucks didn’t hit its target. Including the post-auction, shout-out for funds, the evening’s take wasn’t too much more than $100,000.

One person commented, “Too sober. Too hot. This group is ready for church.”

As crass as this comment was, it was a Reader’s Digest critique. Usually, most fundraisers have the live auction preceded by a cocktail party and a well-quenched dinner. The true experts in the live auction world know that you don’t want the guests to be “too happy” that they don’t have the day-after blues. But you do want them to be lulled into feeling the lift of the paddles is painless. Not the case here. Between the heat and the grumbling tummies, these celebrants wanted to get out of the tent and onto dinner inside the air-conditioned Mansion.

According to one TACA organizer, the thinking was that people wanted the dinner to follow the live auction, so they could settle back and linger, as opposed to hustling to the auction. They also felt that the dance performance would rally the paddles into a frenzy high.

But this POA turned into a perfect storm for Monday morning quarterbacking. Had they held the live auction in the Mansion ballroom, the heat factor would not have kicked in. Had they held the live auction after the seated dinner, there would have been a more festive lifting of the paddles. Had the auction items been curated by a true luxury team like the 2017 Art Ball’s Jennifer Karol and Rajan Patel instead of parceling some items out to out-of-state AmFund, the paddles might have waved like the flags on the Fourth of July. Had the annual farm-to-table package been part of the lineup, even the poorest of the rich crowd would have had paddled up.

Editor’s comment: As the new regime of TACA gets underway for the next 50 years, it appears to still be a project in development. But on this night the celebration of TACA’s 50th anniversary wasn’t quite the bravo production that some had hoped for. MIA were some longtime TACA supporters. According to one source, past TACA chairs had been invited to join the host committee. When one “past TACA co-chair” had received the invite, she responded, “My husband and I don’t support the arts. We’ve never been to a TACA event, so I doubt we’ve ever chaired one.”

Organizers intimated that this would be the last TACA live auction. Perhaps it’s just as well, since the 2017 TACA Custom Auction Gala went out with a whimper, and not a bang.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert!: 2017 TACA Custom Auction Gala

Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhart and Liz and Richard Naftalis

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, TACA’s Custom Auction Gala expanded its digs at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek on Friday, September 8, with a see-thru tent for the cocktail reception and live auction. Plus, the organizers commissioned a dance especially for the occasion.

Bill and Linda Custard

To match the celebration, the black-tie set arrived in their finery for a night to glisten and gleam. And that they did all in the name of supporting the arts of Dallas!

Dance commissioned by TACA

While the post is being finalized, check out the crowd and the scene at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

TACA Custom Auction Gala Item #6 — An Unforgettable Evening With The Dallas Cowboys And Dean Fearing

TACA Custom Auction Gala Co-Chair Wanda Gierhart has connections and great taste, don’t you know. She’s managed to get one of country’s best known culinary kings to come on board as part of this auction item. And adding some muscle to it, she’s scored some additional heavyweights for this delicious package that will be auctioned off by auctioneer Louis Murad on Friday, September 8, at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

An Unforgettable Evening With The Dallas Cowboys And Dean Fearing* (Value: Priceless)

Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhart (File photo)

Troy Aikman (File photo)

Daryl Johnston (File photo)

Emmitt Smith (File photo)

He’s known for many things. Dean Fearing has been cowboy boot-wearing chef at both the Mansion and now The Ritz Carlton. He’s part of “The Lost Coyote Band. He’s given loads of time and talent to countless area nonprofits. He’s TACA Custom Auction Gala co-chair. And he just happens to be engaged to his Co-Chair Wanda. Told you that Wanda had “connections and great taste.”

The winner of the sweet deal will have Dean having the time of his life creating a three-course Southwestern dinner in the winner’s home-sweet-home for a dozen folks.

As for those serving up the courses, Wanda and Dean tapped a trio of cowboys… well, former cowboys like Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Daryl Johnston. But don’t get your hopes up for a speedy meal. After all, selfies do slow things down when “the help” is this crew. Just imagine Troy throwing a platter to Daryl to hands off to Emmitt. Oops! Better keep the good china locked up in the pantry.

BTW, since the meal is based on the foursome’s availability, football season is likely to be out of the question.

*Courtesy of Dean Fearing, Troy Aikman, Daryl Johnston and Emmitt Smith

TACA Custom Auction Gala Item #5 — Private Photoshoot In NYC With Internationally Celebrated Portrait Photographer Ruven Afanador

While others may share their selfies on Facebook, the winner of this TACA Custom Auction Gala package will be the social media envy. And this one that will up for bidding on Friday, September 8, will not only make the winner a timeless beaut but will be fun recalling the experience.

Private Photoshoot in NYC With Internationally Celebrated Portrait Photographer Ruven Afanador* (Value: Priceless)

Think of this auction item as the extreme opposite of a passport photo. The winner and a guest will be flown up to the Big Apple via American Airlines for an experience that the likes of Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Barak Obama, Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Warren Beatty, Richard Branson, Jessica Lange, Bill Murray, Barbra Streisand and Julianne Moore have had — a portrait by world-renowned photographer Ruven Afanador. And the winner of this package can be among the stars of the universe in his collection!

Ruven Afanador photo**

Ruven Afanador photo**

Like other great photographic artists like Francesco Scavullo, Annie Leibovitz and Richard Avedon, Ruven’s unique style has set him at the top of the profession.

But before the first snap of the camera, the winner will be dolled up thanks to professional stylists to suit the lights and staging. Suggestion: Have the guest take a cellphone snap the winner with Ruven and the team to send back home.

Afterwards, there so much to see and do in NYC, but make time for dinner at Adella before heading for a two-night stay at Hotel Pierre. On the way home flight, decide the best place for the portrait to be displayed.

* Courtesy of Ruven Afanador, American Airlines, The Pierre Hotel and Adella 
**Photos provided TACA

TACA Custom Auction Gala Item #4 — My Name Is Bond. James Bond: A Shaken Not Stirred Sojourn

A favorite debate is which James Bond was best? Sean? Roger? Pierce? Daniel? This TACA Custom Auction Gala item will settle the argument. The best Bond will be the winner of this trip that even M would approve.

My Name Is Bond. James Bond: A Shaken Not Stirred Sojourn (Value: Priceless)

Swiss Alps*

There was ways to travel through Europe and there’s the Bond way. The winning bidder of this item won’t have to anything death defying like leap from a plane or survive a toppling building. They just have to be the last paddle standing. Their reward will nine days of checking out the locales of three Bond films (“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” “Moonraker” and “Casino Royale”) in the Alps, Venice and Monte Carlo where 007 wined, dined and tackled the bad guys and bedded the gals.

Monte Carlo*

And, of course, the excursion will include roundtrip airfare, four-star accommodations in three Bond hotels, zipping to Venice on “a supertrain” and then hopping on board a plane to the French Riviera.

* Photos provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Gala Item #2 — Dance And Dinner With France’s Compagnie Hervé Koubi

Despite Henry Wadsworth Longfellow‘s proclamation that music is the universal language, it isn’t the only one. No, siree. Dancing is, too. Through its physicality and motion, it reflects everything from unique cultures to the interpretation of emotions. This second TACA Custom Auction Gala package offers a dazzling opportunity to more than just be an observer.

Dance And Dinner With France’s Compagnie Hervé Koubi*

World-renowned for its prowess and beauty, the male dance company of France’s Compagnie Hervé Koubi is quite simply breathtaking to behold thanks to French/Algerian choreographer Hervé Koubi. In 2016 the troupe’s artistry received glorious reviews as well as standing ovations.

Compagnie Hervé Koubi**

The winning bidder of this package will more than attend the TITAS presentation of the troupe in January. They along with seven of his/her guests will arrive at the Winspear before all the hoi polloi. The reason? So, they can have “backstage access for the pre-performance warm-up.”  Afterward the lucky eight will head to the Brierley Suite for a seated dinner prepared by Wolfgang Puck’s folks.

Compagnie Hervé Koubi**

As other members of the audience arrive for the evening performance, the winner and guests will take their places in a private box to watch the performance that will be mesmerizing. And to top off the evening, they’ll join the dancers on stage for a post-performance champagne toast. A simple bravo just isn’t enough, don’t you know.

* Courtesy of TITAS, AT&T Performing Arts Center and Wolfgang Puck Catering 
** Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Item #1 — Around The World With Rosewood

Back in 1966 when the late Jane Murchison (Haber), Evelyn Lambert, Virginia Nick and Betty Black Guiberson were trying to raise money for the Dallas Theater Center, they planted the seeds for TACA. To accomplish the fundraising, they held an auction — “it consisted, essentially, of four booths selling exotic food, one at each corner of the brand-new NorthPark center, and a write-in auction in front of Jas. K. Wilson.” By 1968 they had decided to try an auction on television, so they approached Channel 39. It turned out to be a combination of a mega-telethon and “Saturday Night Live” with local unknowns and well-knowns serving as hosts.

Legend has it that originally TACA stood for “TheAter Custom Auction” or “The Auction for Cultural Arts,” but the final representation is “The Arts Community Alliance.”

Over the years, TACA changed directions and expanding its beneficiaries and activities to include the Silver Cup Luncheon, Party on the Green and the TACA Custom Auction that eventually replaced the TV auction. It made sense. Afterall, the garnering of countless items, volunteers and sponsors for the TV auction required a heck of a lot of effort compared to the Custom Auction. This year the collection of TACA Custom Auction Gala items at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek will be limited to just six. Here is the first of the six that will be up for bid on Friday, September 8:

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #1 – Around The World With Rosewood*

Phileas Fogg and Passepartout would have had absolutely killed for this worldly excursion. Instead of schlepping around the world in 80 days, the winner of this live auction package will experience international luxury ala Rosewood style with a guest. Within 15 days, the twosome will fly American Airlines to the following five Rosewood properties for three-night stays:

Rosewood Phuket**

Rosewood Puebla**

Rosewood Washington**

Rosewood Little Dix Bay**

Rosewood London**

The only downside is that it’s going to spoil the twosome for future trips.

* Courtesy of Rosewood Hotels and American Airlines 
** Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #9: Front Row At The Bruce Wood Dance Gallery

Dallas’ Bruce Wood was nationally known for his choreography. He was known for having “an aesthetic that set his work apart. He drew his subject matter from human nature, distilling the ups and downs, and the loves and the losses of daily life into pieces that range from dramatic to comic, compassionate to hilarious, psychological to pedestrian.” With his untimely death in May 2014, there was great concern about his legacy. But Bruce Wood Dance Project President/Producer Gayle Halperin used Bruce’s inspiration to continue on. One of the results was the creation of the Bruce Wood Dance Gallery that Theater Jones described as “a cozy and atmospheric space” in the Dallas Design District.

For the TACA Custom Auction Gala, a performance at the Gallery will be presented along with a menu created by Texas’ favorite boot-scootin’ Chef Dean Fearing.

Like the Farm-To-Table, this very special event will be sold to 30 couples, so when it hits the auction bloc, raise those paddles high.

Front Row At The Bruce Wood Dance Gallery* (Value: $725 per couple**)

Front Row At The Bruce Wood Dance Gallery*

Front Row At The Bruce Wood Dance Gallery***

Experience an exclusive private performance on Friday, February 24, of select dance works curated by local dance maven and Bruce Wood Dance Project President Gayle Halperin, all while enjoying signature cocktails and hors d’oeuvres prepared by the “Father of Southwestern Cuisine,” Chef Dean Fearing.

  • Private performance featuring local dance artists at the Bruce Wood Dance Gallery in the Dallas Design District
  • Menu created and prepared by Chef Dean Fearing
* Courtesy of Fearing’s Restaurant and Gayle Halperin 
** Only sold in pairs, limited to 30 couples 
*** Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #8: Wild Wonders And Fine Wines In Africa

South Africa is known for its magnificent natural beauty and the most amazing animals roaming the earth. But there is so much more. For instance, from true African villages to breathtaking estates, it is a world that constantly amazes. Many are surprised to learn that just 30 minutes outside of Cape Town, there is the Cape Winelands region with its scenic vineyards that produce everything from “Rhone-style red wines to aromatic Sauvignon blancs.”

For the lucky winner of this TACA Custom Auction Gala package, a trip for two translates into a fabulous 10-night stay in “lodge-style accommodation” and tours that suggest bringing along your camera and your taste buds.

And if you haven’t gotten your tickets locked down for the TACA Custom Auction Gala, better scurry hurry. The places at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek’s dinner tables and paddles at Friday’s auction are getting scarce.

Wild Wonders And Fine Wines In Africa* (Value: $32,350)

Wild Wonders And Fine Wines In Africa**

Wild Wonders And Fine Wines In Africa**

Experience the journey of a lifetime in South Africa. See some of the region’s most majestic creatures – including elephants, lions, and rhinos – up close from your deluxe Land Cruiser. Visit an authentic Swazi village, tour beautiful Cape Town, and explore the grand estates and lush vineyards of the Cape Winelands.

  • Guided photo safari tours for two at locations throughout South Africa, including the Kruger National Park, KwaZulu Natal, and the St. Lucia Estuary
  • Guided day-trip for two to the Kingdom of Swaziland
  • Wine tastings at vineyards in the Cape Winelands, South Africa
  • Ten-nights of deluxe, lodge-style accommodations and seventeen meals for two
  • Round-trip, business-class air transportation for two provided by American Airlines
* Courtesy of the American Fundraising Foundation and American Airlines 
** Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #7: Sophisticated Evening At The Mansion

Talk about impressing your friends with a perfect night of wining and dining without the muss or fuss of a caterer invading your own home-sweet-home. Thanks to this TACA Custom Auction Gala package, for one night the legendary Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek will be your stand-in home, one where you’ll entertain eight of your BFFs in the Wine Cellar with a multi-course dinner. And, of course, each course will be enhanced with the perfect wine. Mansion trivia: The Wine Cellar was originally built as a vault for the family’s furs and silver.

After you bid a fond farewell to your well-fed guests, you’ll toddle on up to your deluxe guestrooms for a good night’s sleep. And to complete the perfect stay, you’ll take home a set of Chateau Baccarat crystal wine tasting glasses.

Sophisticated Evening* At The Mansion** (Value: $5,500)

Sophisticated Evening At The Mansion**

Sophisticated Evening At The Mansion***

Make Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek your home away from home. Share an elegant, multi-course dinner and hand-selected wine parings with your guests in the private Wine Cellar. Following dinner, spend a romantic evening in one of Rosewood Mansion’s deluxe rooms, and take home a set of exquisite Château Baccarat crystal wine tasting glasses as your souvenir.

  • Multi-course dinner for 10, with wine pairings, served in the Wine Cellar at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
  • Menu created and prepared by the Rosewood Mansion culinary team
  • One-night stay at Rosewood Mansion for the host couple
  • A set of Château Baccarat crystal wine tasting glasses for the host couple
* For date to be mutually agreed upon
** Courtesy of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dean Driver and 
Allen Dean Home 
*** Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #6: Chairmen’s Favorite Things

The TACA Custom Auction Gala crowd is no stranger to the best dining and entertainment. Say “Hamilton,” and they’ve probably seen it before Lin-Manuel Miranda left the production. Say “masters” and the first thing that pops in their minds is a classic piece of art and not a golf tournament. Say “sautes, jetes, entrechat and cabriole,” and they know you’re not rattling off a French menu.

For these been-around-the-art-block types, this package is ideal. Betcha they’ve never had this experience that includes a multi-course dinner complete with wine for 22 on artist Oliver Clegg’s very unique revolving sculpture. Yup, it’s truly a moveable feast.

If your paddle is the last one up when Heritage Auctions’ Kimberly Serrano closes the bidding, your next challenge is going to be editing your list of supper buds.

Chairmen’s Favorite Things* (Value: Priceless)

Host a dinner party unlike any other, where you and your guests will enjoy a sophisticated “Joule” of a feast while seated at artist Oliver Clegg’s one-of-a-kind table sculpture, which will rotate periodically throughout the evening, housed in a rustic West Dallas warehouse.

  • Multi-course dinner and wine for 22 guests, served on Oliver Clegg’s “Until the Cows Come Home rotating table sculpture in Trinity Groves
  • Menu created and prepared by The Joule Hotel
* Courtesy of Oliver Clegg, Erin Cluley, The Joule Hotel and Terri Provencal 
** For date in Fall/Winter 2016 to be mutually agreed upon 

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #4: Shop And Dine

The curator for this year’s TACA Custom Auction Gala’s package is none other than Rachel Michell. So among her collection of luxurious, dreamy goodies would of course be something in the panache realm of retailing.

And leave it to Rachel to have more in this package that a panache shopping spree. The gal knows how to roll out the red carpet for the Rodeo Drive of Dallas. In addition to $3,000 purchase power with a personal shopper to show the ins and outs, there’s a multi-course tasting for eight complete with grown up libations. Suggestion: First do the shopping. Then show off your acquisitions at the Bistro 31 tasting. Your buds will be eaten up in envy that you topped the other bidders on Friday, September 23 at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

Shop And Dine* (Value: $5,500)

Shop And Dine At Highland Park Village**

Shop And Dine**

Spend the afternoon at one of North Texas’ premier shopping destinations. Visit any of the more than 40 luxury boutiques – including favorites like Alexander McQueen, Carolina Herrera, and Dior – with your own personal shopper. Then enjoy an elegant tasting menu at the French Riviera-inspired Bistro 31.

  • $3,000 in shopping spree
  • Up to three hours with a personal shopper
  • Four-course Chef’s Tasting Menu at Bistro 31, with cocktail and wine pairings, for eight
* Courtesy of Bistro 31 
** Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #5: Live Painting At Samuel Lynne Galleries

When it comes to Dallas performing arts, some folks might wonder if visual art fits the description. Ah, but they haven’t see artist JD Miller in action. For ages, JD has mesmerized art lovers with his live painting exhibitions. So, it’s only natural that this lively creation should be one of the TACA Custom Auction Gala packages.

Ah, where is the perfect setting for such a happening? Why, JD’s home base at Samuel Lynne Galleries, of course. So why not make a party of the occasion. Invite 100 buds to watch the birthing of this tailor-made painting, complete with yummies from Sissy’s and wine from Ste. Michelle.

Live Painting At Samuel Lynne Galleries* (Value: Priceless)

Live Painting at Samuel Lynne Galleries**

Live Painting at Samuel Lynne Galleries***

Invite up to 100 guests for an intimate evening** at Samuel Lynne Galleries in the heart of the Dallas Design District. Watch as local artist JD Miller creates one of his signature 3D oil paintings live, while you and your guests enjoy hors d’oeuvres created by Sissy’s Southern Kitchen and Bar and fine wines provided by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Afterwards, take home your new original JD Miller to add to your private collection.

  • Reception for up to 100 guests at Samuel Lynne Galleries
  • Menu created and prepared by Sissy’s Southern Kitchen and Bar
  • Wines provided by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
  • Original oil painting created by JD Miller for the host
* Courtesy of Samuel Lynne Galleries and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates 
** Date to be mutually agree upon 
*** Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #3: Live At The 2017 Emmy Awards

Television has come a long way since the black-and-white days of the stand-alone boxes without remote controls. Nowadays there is 24-hour news, breathtaking dramas and documentaries that bring the world to the drive-in-movie size flat screens throughout homes and even on smartphones.

No, it’s not your grandpappy’s TV world any longer and the industry’s awards have annually recognized the quality of such progress at the Emmy Awards.

Need proof? Then just watch Sunday’s 68th Emmy Awards hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. Then envision yourself as part of the audience for the 2017 presentation. But why not make that vision reality for you and your best boob-tube buddy by being the winner of this TACA Custom Auction Gala package on Friday, September 23?

Live At The 2017 Emmy Awards* (Value: $17,550)

Live At The 2017 Emmy Awards**

Live At The 2017 Emmy Awards**

Experience the glamour of Hollywood at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards in September 2017, where you and your guest will see your favorite celebrities from the silver screen. Enjoy a relaxing four-day, three-night stay in Los Angeles, including round-trip, business-class air transportation for two.

  • Tickets for two to the 2017 Primetime Emmy Awards in September 2017 at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles
  • Three-night deluxe accommodations for two
  • Round-trip, business-class air transportation for two provided by American Airlines
* Courtesy of the American Fundraising Foundation and American Airlines 
** Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #2: Farm-To-Table Dinner

This annual favorite TACA Custom Auction Gala package is the one that has some of Dallas’ top art-loving types sipping and supping in the Lavon Farm pasture on a Sunday afternoon. Instead of the usual highest bid winning, it’s open season with paddles being raised throughout the black tie gathering at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek on Friday, September 23.

This year’s package will be available for just 30 couples, so warm up your bidding arm and be prepared to compete to be one of the lucky pairs.

Farm-To-Table Dinner* (Value: $750 per couple**)

Farm-To-Table (File photo)

Farm-To-Table (File photo)

Enjoy a multi-course meal al fresco on Sunday, April 2, surrounded by the beautiful, pastoral expanse of Lavon Farms, a third-generation dairy farm tucked away north of Dallas. Chef Abraham Salum of Salum and Komali will create an unforgettable meal featuring locally-sourced ingredients, all accompanied by live entertainment.

  • Cocktails, appetizers, and family-style dinner service
  • Menu created and prepared by Chef Abraham Salum
  • Live musical entertainment
* Courtesy of Chef Abraham Salum and Lavon Farms 
** Only sold in pairs, limited to 30 couples 

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #1 – Artistic Retreat In Marfa

On the heels of this week’s OMG activites benefiting Les Femmes Du Monde, Equest, Fur Ball, Cattle Baron’s, Partner’s Card, Harvest, KidneyTexas, Crystal Charity Ball, Dallas Symphony, The Elissa Project and so many others that are filling the MySweetCharity Calendar, believe it or not there are still more way-over-the-top events the following week. Needless to say, false eyelashes are going to be in need of major league refreshing with all the razzle dazzle!

But one of those during the week of September 19th is Friday’s black tie TACA Custom Auction Gala at the Mansion. With Deutsche Bank Wealth Management and The Patrón Spirits Company as presenting sponsors, Dianne and Mark LaRoe and Honorary Co-Chairs/adorable buds Wanda Gierhart and Dean Fearing have had Highland Park Village’s Rachel Michell put together a collection of live auction items.

It will be the last one for TACA President/Executive Director Becky Young, who will be retiring on December 31. Not to worry. Longtime art-loving executive Wolford McCue will be taking over.

But let’s start the countdown of mega-packages with a visit to that Texas landmark of taste — Marfa. Okay, so you’ve got to dig down in the honesty pocket and admit that you haven’t been there in ages … oops, you haven’t been there at all?… but this package will have you wanting to see the changes and what makes this the artist lovers’ terra-sweet-terra!

Artistic Retreat In Marfa (Value: $21,000)*

Artristic Retreat in Marfa*

Artristic Retreat in Marfa**

Spend an unforgettable weekend at the world-renowned Chinati Foundation museum in Marfa, Texas. Enjoy behind-the-scenes access and celebrate at the Chinati Foundation’s annual Weekend Benefit Dinner. While in Marfa, experience the 360-degree views of grass dunes and weathered mountain ranges while staying at the one-of-a-kind Ranch 2810.

  • Six tickets to the 2017 Chinati Weekend Benefit Dinner on Friday, October 13, 2017
  • Dinner for six with Director of the Chinati Foundation Jenny Moore
  • Private guided tour for six of the Chinati Foundation collection
  • Four-day, three-night private accommodations for six at Ranch 2810
* Courtesy of the Chinati Foundation, Jenny Moore and Ranch 2810 
** Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Gala Tweaked The Normal Routine To Raise Paddles And Funds

In the weeks leading up to the annual TACA Custom Auction Gala, there had been some storm clouds appearing. A couple of the luxury auction packages weren’t locked down until days before the Friday, September 25, event at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

By the big night, some longtime TACA vets were already ‘splaining why they weren’t gonna be at the annual TACA fundraiser. There was SMU’s 100th anniversary, high school football games, friends in from out-of-town and Pope Francis watching.

But when the event got underway it was obvious that change was in the air. Not so much a dramatic change but rather some adjustments to make things different from years past.  For instance, instead of a Christie’s auctioneer, the auction would be conducted by local Louis Murad, who was familiar with big-time bidders. Besides he was bringing five of the auction packages to the table.

Nick Even, Becky Young and Lynn and Allan McBee

Nick Even, Becky Young and Lynn and Allan McBee

Then as the black tie crowd started to pick up their table assignments in the hotel lobby, word made its way through the ranks that instead of the live auction being held once again in the ballroom with rows of reserved seats for top underwriters, TACA’s Becky Young and her crew had decided a little change might liven things up by having the live auction in the Promenade with only a dozen or so hightops available.

But who cared as the champagne flutes found jeweled hands at the reception. Co-Chairs Barbara and Don Daseke greeted the beautiful and philanthropic guests at the Promenade entrance.

James Campbell, Bob Gibbs, Matthew Wilson and John Phifer Marrs

James Campbell, Bob Gibbs, Matthew Wilson and John Phifer Marrs

Bob Gibbs scooted in on a knee scooter with pals Matthew Wilson and just-back-New York James Campbell and John Phifer Marrs. Seems Bob had fallen out of a tree… Another black-tie nursing an injury was Keith Laycock with his right hand in a splint. He fell off his bike riding to the Baylor/SMU game… Dallas Women’s Foundation President/CEO Ros Dawson Thompson and husband/SMU prof Rex Thompson were looking forward to their 16th wedding anniversary come Thanksgiving. But before that happens, Ros has the DWF 30th Annual Luncheon to take place on Friday, October 30…Communities Partners of Texas’ Brent Christopher and Monica Egert Smith were still recovering from North Texas Giving Day…Christy Coltrin was wearing one of her Tiny Sparks necklaces that she had designed with a story to it. Evidently Christy has sapped her PR cap for a jeweler’s creativity and tools…Chef Dean Fearing was with his fav gal Neiman’s Exec Wanda Gierhart, who had put together a couple of the auction items for the night.

Rex Thompson and Roslyn Dawson Thompson

Rex Thompson and Roslyn Dawson Thompson

Monica Egert Smith and Brent Christopher

Monica Egert Smith and Brent Christopher

Brad Oldham and Christy Coltrin

Brad Oldham and Christy Coltrin

Wanda Gierhart and Dean Fearing

Wanda Gierhart and Dean Fearing

When the chimes were sounded, Simona Beal, Sami Abboud, Brittanie Buchanan Oleniczak and Jason Oleniczak and Wanda  and Dean headed to the main dining room. The Dasekes and Laree Hulshoff and Ben Fischer hosted a gaggle of charming folks like John Clutts, Sami Arslanar and Rachel and John Michell in the Garden Room. Other guests sauntered to other areas of the hotel including the Shepard Suite, the bar and practically any place a table could be set for a seated dinner of chilled lobster, watermelon, lobster essence and black garlic and an entrée of beef tenderloin and braised short rib with smoked hummus, basil and tomato condiment. To accompany the courses, Laree and Ben sponsored C.K. Mondavi wine.

Sami Abboud and Simona Beal

Sami Abboud and Simona Beal

Brittanie Buchanan Oleniczak and Jason Oleniczak

Brittanie Buchanan Oleniczak and Jason Oleniczak

John Clutts and Laree Hulshoff

John Clutts and Laree Hulshoff

Ben Fischer

Ben Fischer

Sami Arslanar

Sami Arslanar

John and Rachel Michell

John and Rachel Michell

As for dessert, it was back in the ballroom at a dessert buffet including apple hazelnut macaroon, mint chocolate financier, yogurt passion cake, banana peanut glass, yuzu raspberry tart, lemon meringue lollipop and coffee.

Louis Murad

Louis Murad

As for the the live auction, Louis took his place on stage with mic in hand as the black-tied set gathered around despite some bailing before the bidding started.  Try as he might, Louis didn’t seem to get charge of the charity crowd. First on the list of items was the Farm-To-Table auction item going for $750 a couple; it cleared the place of some of the bargain-hunting guests. As a large number of guests settled down in the ballroom for sit and sip, those left in the Promenade kept their paddles lowered, resulting in Black Friday sales Chef Dean Fearing getting the Banff trip for $9K; the guys’ getaway went for $6K; Singing for Your Supper was snapped up for $3K; lunch with Neiman Marcus taste kingpin Ken Downing was had for $43K; the “This is what we’re all been waiting for trip to” Tuscany got a final bid of $12K; Don Daseke snapped up the trip to Paris and Austria for $16K, and Barbara’s fav things including a Mathew Trent ring plus a shopping spree at Allan Knight went to Laree Hulshoff for a cool $30K.

The evening’s take: more than $400,000, but less than 2013’s $615,000.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: TACA Custom Auction Gala

Nick Even and Barbara and Don Daseke

Nick Even and Barbara and Don Daseke

Those tuxedos and gowns have been hidden away too long. Luckily, the TACA Custom Auction Gala brought them out at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek on Friday, September 25, for the first of the season’s formal fundraisers.

Donna Wilhelm

Donna Wilhelm

Ben Fischer

Ben Fischer

Louis Murad

Louis Murad

Laree Hulshoff

Laree Hulshoff

There was Bruno Davaillon dining, beautiful peeps and paddles being raised in the live auction. While the post is being prepped, check out the looks of the night at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #1: European Escape

It’s only right to save the very best for last. And this final item in the TACA Custom Auction collection is truly the piece de resistance. From chocolate, champagne to concert, this package will make the winning twosome the envy of all. It will be interesting to see whose paddle is the last one waving for this one on Friday, September 25, in the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek ballroom. Get those paddles and passports ready.

European Escape* (Value: $35,000)

This unique European adventure** starts with a five-night stay in Paris’s five-star Hotel du Louvre. From here the twosome will become true experts on champagne by venturing to the Epernay where Moet & Chandon’s mammoth subterranean wine cellars have been producing the world-renowned champagnes like Dom Perignon.

Speaking of Dom, the duo will tour Hautvillers and the abbey where legend has it that the French Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Perignon invented the champagne.

Of course, all that touring and learning about the French bubbly will require some thirst quenching. No problem. There will be eight champagne tasting in three different locations, lunching on cheese and charcuterie in a small boutique winery and, of course, a three-glass tasting of Premier Crus Champagne at a boutique winery.

But there’s still more. The couple will travel to Vienna for a two-night stay in a “Superior Room” at the Hotel Sacher Vienna. While there, they will have daily breakfast and a candelight dinner at the hotel’s Rote Bar. One of them will be able to relax thanks to a 30-minute “Time To Chocolate” spa treatment. No, it’s not fattening. According to experts, the magic ingredient is the cacao butter that immediately results in “firmer skin and guarantees a radiant look with a long lasting effect.” Sounds yummy.

Jaap van Zweden**

Jaap van Zweden***

And if the trip is taken in May 2016, they’ll be able to attend the Vienna State Opera’s “Lohengrin” with Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Maestro Jaap van Zweden conducting.

The trip to- and from-Paris will be business class on board American Airlines.

* Courtesy of Arts World Travel, Hotel Sacher Vienna, American Airlines 
and Murad Auctions 
** Trip Must be completed within one year. 
***Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Item #2: Farm-To-Table Dinner

A tried-and-true favorite for six years, this unique dining experience is only available to 30 couples. Instead of a restaurant, the event is held in a bucolic setting. On Sunday, April 17, the three-course meal will take place in the pasture of Lavon Farms in Plano. Please don’t be surprised if you hear a “moo”. The farm is a third-generation dairy farm owned by Todd and Deanna Moore, their three sons (Madison, Mason and Maxton) and Todd’s brother Jonathan with prize-winning Guernseys and Jerseys providing fresh milk, yogurt, cheese and butter. Why the Lavon cattle brought home some impressive prizes at the 2012 World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest.

Farm-to-Table Dinner (Value: $22,500)

And speaking of award-winning edibles, formerly associated with FT33, the Porch and Hibiscus, Chef Jason Ferraro will create a menu that will delight and amaze, but it won’t interfere with the chatting across the table.

Farm-To-Table Dinner*

Farm-To-Table Dinner*

It’s a leisurely afternoon with live music, so please leave your red-soled stilettos and Italian suits at home. Think cute sundresses and khaki slacks with polo shirts.

While tickets will be sold in pairs only at $750 per couple, you can buy more than just one pair. But remember only 30 couples can take advantage of this one. Get your paddle up fast enough.

* Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Item #4: Barbara’s Favorite Things

This TACA Custom Auction package is for those with designs. It’s the creation of tapping the creative brain of TACA Custom Auction Gala Chair Barbara Daseke.

Barbara’s Favorite Things* (Value: $40,000)

Barbara Daseke (File photo)

Barbara Daseke (File photo)

Whether it’s having penguins do laps in her pool, hiking through the mountains of South America with husband Don Daseke or picking out the right fabrics for a client’s penthouse, Barbara Daseke lives a life that few could even imagine. Known for her white, spiked hair and never-ending smile accompanied with laughter, she’s doesn’t just make an impression. She’s a standout.

From decorating to jewelry, she just has a way of putting things together. Perhaps that’s why they tapped her for this package. It will include a shopping spree at the Allan Knight Showroom in the Design District and Carla Martinengo in The Plaza at Preston Center.  (Of course, you know that Allan’s is usually only open to design professionals).

To help you on your purchase, you’ll be able to have up to 10 hours of “design consultation by Barbara Elliott Interiors. (That’s Barbara Daseke’s company, but you knew that.)

And what goes better that pretty things for the mansion than some bling. Well, Matthew Trent has provided just that with a handcrafted gold ring.

* Courtesy of Allan Knight Showroom, Carla Martinengo, Matthew Trent 
and Barbara Elliott Interiors

TACA Custom Auction Package #5 – All-American Guys’ Getaway

TACA just couldn’t create a trip exclusively for ladies without giving the gents a tip of the hat. So for the TACA Custom Auction on Friday, September 25, organizers have come up with an adventure with the breeze in air and salt water all around.

All-American Guys’ Getaway* (Value: $15,000)

All-American Guys' Getaway***

All-American Guys’ Getaway***

Landlubbers beware! This auction package** is not for those seasick types. Rather, it’s a exhilarating opportunity to do what few have experience. The winner will be able to take three of his buds from landlocked Dallas to San Diego roundtrip on American Airlines.

Once there they’ll sail San Diego Bay “aboard one of the fastest and most famous sailboats in the word.” Don’t worry if you know the difference between a boom and an anchor or you’ve never given jibing or tacking a second thought. Experts will crewing, but if you might want to take a try at the wheel.

And when the foursome is not sailing past the others boats in the bay, they’ll be able relax at Excalibur Cigar and Scotch Lounge with some spirits and stogies regaling their sea adventures. They’ll also enjoy some surf and turf at Donovan’s San Diego.

During their three- night stay, they’ll bunk down at Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.

* Courtesy of American Airlines and Murad Auctions. 
** Trip must be completed within one year. 
*** Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Item #6 – Singing For Your Supper With The Dallas Orpheus Chambers Singers

Nothing goes better than delicious cuisine, brilliant conversation and exquisite music. And that’s exactly what this TACA Custom Auction package provides for the winner of this offering for the benefit of TACA. It will be on the live auction bloc Friday, September 25.

Singing For Your Supper With The Dallas Orpheus Chambers Singers* (Value: Priceless)

Orpheus Chamber Singers Founder and Artistic Director Donald Krehbiel treasures the beauty of new and unusual choral music. Have won The Ruth Clark Award from The North Texas association of Unitarian Universalist Societies and the Soli Deo Gloria Award from Perkins School of Theology, his reputation has earned him the respect of the musical community, both locally and nationally.

The winner of this auction package for 10 will be able to have Donald for a dinner conversation to discuss his knowledge, his experiences and his insight of chorale music.

To showcase this unique art, the guests will be serenaded by a quartet of singers.

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek's Wine Cellar***

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek’s Wine Cellar***

For this special supper, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek Chef Bruno Davaillon will create a four-course dinner. But this exclusive occasion demands privacy to enjoy the food, the conversation and the serenading. So, what better setting than the world-famous Wine Cellar at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek?

For the host couple, there will be no need to worry about the evening ending. They’ll spend the night at Mansion, of course.

* Date for Wine Cellar Dinner to be mutually agreed upon. 
** Courtesy of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Executive Chef Bruno Davaillon 
and Dallas Orpheus Chamber Singers 
*** Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction #7 – All-American Girls’ Getaway

How about a course that isn’t found in most university catalogs? That’s what this TACA Custom Auction package offers for four gal pals to experience and to benefit TACA on Friday, September 25 at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

All-American Girls’ Getaway* (Value: $15,000)

Whether a worldly expert of wines or just a weekend vino sampler, the winner of this item will be able to whisk away her BFF to the luxurious Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa for a three-night stay in the California wine country.

Cask Room**

Cask Room**

Instead of the traditional classroom and instructor, the ladies will have their lessons at St. Helena’s Merryvale Vineyards with its spectacular Cask Room. The Merryvale wine specialist, sommelier and food and wine educator will provide the foursome with a flight of award-winning wines ending in the Library with Merryvale’s coveted “The Profile.”

Ah, but education can be wearing. So the foursome can take advantage of $500 worth of spa treatments at the hotel’s Willow Stream Spa that has been known for hundreds of years’ with its thermal mineral waters.

In addition to daily breakfasts, the guests will have a chauffeured town car and round-trip, coach-class airfare.

* Courtesy of American Airlines and Murad Auctions 
** Photo courtesy of Murad Auctions
*** Travel must be completed within one year.