Springtime’s Dallas Museum of Art’s fundraiser Art in Bloom has always provided an opportunity for silks and breezy looks to step out. Event Chair Eleanor Bond had decided to change things up a bit. After all, it was the 20th anniversary of the Dallas Museum of Art fundraiser. Instead of the luncheon and lecture taking place on a Monday, she arranged for two sessions on Sunday, March 31. The morning session would start at 10 a.m. with a brunch buffet immediately followed by Françoise Weeks presenting a floral demonstration. Just as morning guests were heading for their cars, the afternoon two-part program would be getting underway at 1 p.m.
And the move to a Sunday two-fer should have been ideal, only Ma Nature did a double-doozy deal changer — dropping temperatures to the 40s and bringing blow-me-down winds.
Results? Greeting the guests were three flaming heat towers to warm the outdoor check-in with staff trying to keep papers from fluttering in the gusts. Bartenders at the two outdoor set-ups ironically offered icy champagne and hurricanes in keeping with the New Orleans theme Joie Des Fleurs.
Still the guests weren’t to be dissuaded. They arrived in their spring frocks and adorable stilettos ready to dine in the Hamon Atrium and attend a lecture and check out the floral exhibit on the fourth floor galleries. However, DMA Eugene McDermott Director Agustín Arteaga and Carlos Gonzalez-Jaime did opt for turtle necks.
Alas, the valets, instead of parking cars underneath the DMA, were forced to park the cars over at the Hunt parking lot a block away.
However, before the first guests like Bettina Hennessy, Renee Querbes Farren, Cynthia Mitchell, Don Freeman, Monica Egert Smith, Lea Mandell, Kush Saxena, Pam Baker, Liana Yarckin, Ann Mahowald, Nancy Cates, Pat and Stan Altschuler, Scotty Richardson, Kyle Richardson, Kirk Williams, Lori Walles, Lynn Brooks, Suzanne Caruso, Eleanor Casey, Carole Ann Brown,Donna Clark, Barbara VanDrie, Jennifer Brower and Mary McDermott Cook with Cati Mena, Maria Marroquin and Isabel Hernandez arrived, things were a little scrambled. The curtain behind the jazz trio in the Hamon Atrium was partially erected, taken down and installed. One table host didn’t look happy about the location of her table and held a conference with organizers at a high-top outside.
On most of the round tables were ferns in green plastic containers in elevated towers. It’s too bad some Spanish moss hadn’t been used to dress up the containers.
Every time the doors opened, the cold wind dimmed the body heat provided by the growing number of guests. As for the rest of day of brunching and listening, here’s a report from the field:
Event Chairman Eleanor Bond, Honorary Chairman Beverly Freeman and DMA League President Sarah Jo Hardin welcomed more than 300 guests to Art in Bloom: Joie des Fleur. The day began with a champagne reception in the Hamon Atrium, which featured two show-stopping floral designs by Rusty Glenn, featuring 18’ Forsythia trees surrounded by woodland arrangements of flowers, moss, ferns and plants. Guests arrived and mingled as they enjoyed passed canapés including beignets, Gruyere gougères, deep-fried gulf oysters with Brie, and shrimp cocktail, while enjoying the sounds of New Orleans jazz provided by the Icehouse Band Trio.
Raffle tickets were available for purchase for a chance to win one of 20 fabulous packages, including a New Orleans trip including airfare for two, courtesy of Southwest Airlines, two night stay at The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, unlimited sightseeing on a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus, dinner at Clancy’s and Galatoire’s and more; a St. John VIP luxury shopping experience and champagne tea party for 10 at St. John Boutique in Highland Park Village; a tour for six of the DMA’s vault with Isabel Staffer, Director of Collections Management at the Dallas Museum of Art followed by lunch at Stephan Pyles’ Flora Street Café; a $1,500 gift certificate to Eiseman Jewels; a bracelet handcrafted in India featuring a pave of rubies and diamonds set in sterling silver and gold vermeil donated by Lisa Blair and Imperial Gems/Forget Me Not; $1000 in NorthPark Gold and more.
As well, attendees were the first to view this year’s Floral Exhibition, which featured a unique display of floral arrangements created by 16 local designers and inspired by works of art from the Museum’s permanent collection on view in the Museum’s Level 4 Arts of the Americas Galleries. Participating designers were: Brad Duren Flowers, Urban Flower Grange Hall, The Trent Shop Lakewood, Metka Floral Designs, Olive Grove Design, Petals A Florist, Sage Blooms, Dr Delphinium, David Kimmel Design, Avant Garden, Blumengarten, Cebolla Fine Flowers, Jackson Durham Events, Botanical Mix, April Bosworth Flowers and Branching Out Events.
Before brunch began, Sarah Jo Hardin welcomed attendees and thanked them for their support of the 20th anniversary of the DMA League’s largest fundraiser. She also recognized the many individuals who helped make the day possible including, the Art in Bloom committee, Honorary Chair Beverly Freeman, Art in Bloom sponsors and DMA League members.
Patrons then enjoyed the savory small plate buffet featuring seared lump crab cake on spring greens with Creole remoulade; Vichyssoise soup; stone-ground grits with beef grillades; fine ratatouille crepes with Gruyere glaz and arugula salad; goat cheese and caramelized onion tart and olive salad; quiche Lorraine; and eggs Benedict. Dessert offerings included Crepes Suzette; Bananas Foster with vanilla bean ice cream; gateaux au chocolat amer with fresh berries; Greek yogurt, fresh berry and granola parfait; and a delicious dessert station courtesy of Tartalicious.
Following brunch, guests were directed to the Horchow Auditorium for a floral presentation by internationally renowned designer Françoise Weeks. Weeks wowed the audience with her demonstration of how to create her signature woodland designs, which she shared she began creating about twelve years ago after a childhood memory resurfaced of making flower arrangements using bark, moss and flowers, while vacationing with her family in Switzerland. Sharing her tips and tricks for incorporating “texture,” such as bark, acorns, succulents, mushrooms, moss and other materials, in addition to adding fresh flowers, she showcased a variety of designs from tabletop wood pieces to wall arrangements in a wood frame. She then transitioned into her botanical couture pieces, which included purses, often used by flower girls in some of the weddings she has designed, shoes, earrings, rings, necklaces and headpieces. Throughout her presentation, Weeks was quick to answer questions from the audience with advice including where to source many of the materials she used.
Following her presentation, Weeks’ book, “The Herbal Recipe Keeper,” was available for purchase and signing.
While Weeks’ was finishing her demonstration, more patrons arrived for a second brunch seating in the Hamon Atrium, complete with the same savory fare and entertainment. As well, throughout the museum, families could enjoy special Art in Bloom activities, sponsored by Cindy Williams, including face painting, Blooms and Bouquets creations in the Creative Connections Art Studio; origami by Paper for Water; watercolor demonstrations by artist Carol Ivey; and a Flower Power family guide which took guests on a “stroll through the museums art garden” to help find floral works among the DMA’s permanent collections.
For afternoon Art in Bloom patrons, Weeks returned for an encore demonstration and book signing.
Proceeds support the Dallas Museum of Art’s education programs, as well as the DMA League’s Floral Endowment Fund.
20th anniversary Art in Bloom sponsors include: Lisa and Clay Cooley, Peggy and Carl Sewell/Sewell Automotive Companies, Beverage Marketing Associates, Sixty Vines, Duckworth Distillery, Cindy Williams, Charles Schwab, Paper for Water, Tartalicious, Marquee Event Rentals, PaperCity and MySweetCharity.