As sleek, slim and concise as a laser beam, the 2016 Art Ball was true to its theme of “Art+Architecture” on Saturday, April 23. Unlike years past of lavish videos, entertainment by the likes of John Legend and Solange Knowles and tables filling the tent to its seams, this year there was a sense of elegant efficiency. Rather than spreading the main gala to various parts of the museum property, this year the whole kit-and-caboodle of the main gala was confined to the tent. Instead of more than 600 of the beautiful peeps, it was a good-looking crowd of 450 who felt right at home with their fundraising friends. As Carol Glendenning put it, “This is fun because a lot of our friends are here!”
Why, even the idea of using the plus sign (“+”) in the theme was an indication that it was going to be an occasion of keeping things neat and trim while blending design and artwork. And that “+” would play into event producer Todd Fiscus‘ masterplan for the night.
As guests followed green rugs with white arrows pointing up the concourse, they discovered a red rug with a mega yellow “+” in front of the receiving line that included Event Co-Chairs Ann and David Sutherland, DMA Board President Catherine Rose and husband Will Rose and Laura Elcock and husband/DMA Interim Director Walter Elcock. Through the doorway that usually leads to the Ross Plaza, the black-tie set walked through a tented walkway between two rows of servers with trays of grownup beverages and entered the reception that gobbled up a fifth of the mega tent. Along one side of the tent were all types of silent auction goodies curated by interior designer Gonzalo Bueno and Michael McCray. Across the way were bars serving up more libations and a wall of curtains that would not be pulled back until it was dinner time. In the center of the reception area were posh seating arrangements into which the early bird arrivals nestled.
Within the hour it was so cozy that the only thing that separated guests was a whiff of perfume. On the concourse, blonde Nancy Rogers swept in with her beautiful posse including Donna Brittingham, Michael Flores and Doug Carnes. Both Nancy and Donna looked whisper thin in gowns especially made for them by Zac Posen… The Bumpas clan was being overloaded with congratulations — Diane Bumpas for her birthday the day before, Stuart Bumpas for receiving the Callier Cares Award and son Joe Bumpas on his engagement to Lizzie Weeks….Forty Five Ten guru Brian Bolke reported that plans were underway for the fall opening of the new specialty store….Sonia Black was all smiles. Seems she had a great send-off before leaving with husband Brian Black for the gala. One of her sons told her that she looked “pretty.”…Dallas Snadon was solo. Husband Daryl Snadon was at the Hockaday father-daughter dance…Nancy Carlson was also husbandless — “Clint is partied out.” Not to worry; she had Rajan Patel to keep her company… With Ashley Tatum on his arm, David Nichols admitted that he had to send his new puppy back to the breeder. It wasn’t the pooch’s fault. She was a doll, but David had to admit that he just wasn’t home enough to provide her with companionship…and then there were Nancy Dedman with Brad Kelly, Jo Staffelbach Heinz and Andre Staffelbach, Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger, Moll and Charlie Anderson, Lucy Billingsley, Barb and Steve Durham, Jan and Jim Showers, Kelli and Allen Questrom, Elaine and Neils Agather, Shelle and Michael Sills, Merry and Chad Vose, Jennifer and John Eagle and Tracy and Ben Lange.
On the fashion front, Mary McDermott Cook proved that dressing could be artful by wearing a skirt covered with strands that glowed in the dark… And speaking of dazzling and glittery, Faisal Halum was surrounded by star power thanks to out-of-town celebs include entertainer Lance Bass and Michael Turchin, Amsterdam-based jeweler Bibi Van Der Velden and designer Adams Lippes, who designed Ann Sutherland’s red gown… As Fort Worth’s Olivia Kearney swept by in a one-shoulder black gown, someone asked who the designer was. Husband Jeff Kearney quipped, “Swiffer.”… Jennifer Dix was in an emerald green Zac Posen that went beautifully with jewelry from her mom and husband Richard Dix… Naturally Elements creative designer Stevie Moore designed her own gown… Instead of a dazzling necklace and earrings, Jennifer Karol wore her “accessory” on her back. Between her shoulder blades was a Chanel faux tattoo of swallows in flight with a diamond necklace in their beaks.
Just as the reception area was starting to push the cozy factor, the curtains opened to the rest of the tent at 8 p.m. At the far end of the room was a stage in yellows, oranges and reds with lush green ferns. A mammoth “red-print” of the DMA and downtown Dallas towered over a yellow backboard with “Art + Architecture” in red on the stage, where DSQ played.
In front of the elevated stage was a gargantuan “+” made of dinner tables for top sponsors. Highlighting these tables were slender, glass vases. Some contained yellow flowers; others had electric candles. How smart! The centerpieces were so tall they didn’t block the view of guests! At the center of the “+” was a floral display that looked like someone had robbed the Arboretum blind. Overhead were chandeliers of Spanish moss.
Like sparkling stars, oversized round tables surrounded the big, old “+” configuration. All of this was staged in two-thirds of the room leaving the Mark di Suvero‘s “Ave” sculpture looking like a wallflower.
One of the challenges was getting this group to transition from standing-talking mode to sitting-talking-eating status. They just didn’t want to settle down now that they had room to spread out and bump into each other. During this time they discovered Micki and Mike Rawlings, Andy Beal with fiancee Olya Sinitsyna, Candice and Tony Romo, Holly Hutchinson with mom Kathleen Hutchinson and John Nolan, Jeff Grover with Lonnie Jordan, Tracy and Richard Cheatham, Christen Wilson, Bill and Wendy Payne, Sarah and Ross Perot Jr. with Nancy Marcus and Capera Ryan, Sheryl Maas, Lucilo Pena, Taylor Tomasi Hill and Lionel Morrison.
Finally with guests in their places, Walter was on stage and welcoming the hundreds, reminding them that “money raised tonight goes into operating expenses, and the hardest money to make is for operating expenses.”
With DSQ violinists playing on the main stage and mini-stages around the room, the first course of the dinner — Maine lobster salad, cara cara oranges, watermelon radish, marble potatoes with tarragon vinaigrette and lemon crema — was served. It was soon followed by a pan roasted Rougié duck breast with honey lavender and blackberry gastrique. Then there was a lull. As guests who hadn’t read their program waited and waited for dessert, they were surprised when the entree (pan-seared loup de mer, handmade herb gnocchi, baby leeks, fava beans, spinach and purple asparagus with truffle butter) appeared before them. Someone nudged their dinner companion and confessed, “I’m full from the duck.” Luckily, the guest gave the fish a try and found more room in his tummy for the entree. Happily, dessert was a light delight — a coconut semi-freddo Popsicle, compress pineapple lime gel, coconut powder and waffle cone.
In the meantime, Ann and David were on stage thanking key people who had supported their chairing the event. They were soon followed by Christie’s Brook Hazelton, who got the live auction underway. Where the “red” print had been, now the items were shown on the screen and Brook was getting paddles to rise, with the Rebecca Warren “Totem” topping the others with a neat $46,000.
But the night wasn’t over! After Popsicles were gobbled up and the bidding paddles were all put down, the crowd headed down the Concourse for the after party — “Folly at the Art Ball” — hosted by the Junior Associates and sponsored by Stanley Korshak in the Hamon Atrium and Eagle Family Plaza.
And it wasn’t just the “juniors,” who danced to DJ Lucy Wrubel and the Georgia Bridgwater Orchestra. Nope. Walter took off his jacket and danced the night away with Laura along with Catherine and Will, Andy and Olya, Folly Co-Chairs Rachel and Michael Osburn, Alana and Eric Brame, Vodi Cook, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Ekaterina Kouznetsova and Michael Dylan and the Korshak crew (Janet and Crawford Brock, Bret McKinney and Rose Clark).