As riders on scooters rolled along the sidewalk from Klyde Warren Park to Ross Avenue, they encountered highly fashionable moving obstacles as guests at the 2019 Art Ball arrived on Saturday, April 27, at the tented gala benefiting the Dallas Museum of Art.
Organizers disclosed that attendance for the 54th annual bash at the art museum would be around 365. Hearing this one black-tie guest expressed surprise, claiming the total was fewer than in years past. And indeed, MIA this year were such heavyweight names as Eagle, Hobson, Jones and Cooley.
The DMA fundraiser had been slimmed down some since the departure of DMA headman Max Anderson, transitioning from over-the-top hoopla to lean-and-mean elegance. No more film productions a la “Downton Abbey” and “Uptown Funk,” or major-league entertainers like John Legend and Solange Knowles. Under DMA Eugene McDermott Director Agustin Arteaga, Art Ball 2019 was dubbed “Form + Function — A Celebration of Craftsmanship Throughout the Collection,” with plenty of class and a tad bit less circus.
As for the entertainment in the reception area, it was people and fashion-watching. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings had a duet of dates — wife Micki Rawlings and daughter Michelle Rawlings. Hizzoner said he was going to be focusing on “four or five” trips and then his private-equity business once he leaves office. … Mandy and Bill Dillard were in from Arkansas for daughter Amanda Shufeldt, who was co-chairing the evening along with Lindsey Collins. … DMA Board of Trustees President Catherine Rose was in a delicious pink Emilia Wickstead gown with a floor-length green bow. It was so Jackie Kennedy Onassis…. Carol Glendenning arrived with Michael Seeligson since husband Don Glendenning was out of town for a conference. … Shonn Brown, sans husband Clarence Brown, had done her own makeup and dusted herself with sparkle powder.
Catering mistress Cassandra made sure that Micki Rawlings was going to be served Pinot Grigio (“She doesn’t like Chardonnay”) … Designing types Andre Staffelbach and Jo Staffelbach Heinz and Barbara Daseke, with trucking czar husband Don Daseke, commandeered a high-top table near a group of four students working on a wall mural. … Geoffroy van Raemdonck and Alvise Orsini along with Mimi Sterling arrived toting Neiman Marcus bags. … Thomas Hartland-Mackie said he was focusing on “mostly kids” these days, along with opening dozens of new locations (37 last year, 45 in 2019) for his wholesale City Electric Supply company. … Dirk Nowitzki, with wife Jessica Nowitzki looking on nearby, was asked what kind of art he prefers. “I like more contemporary art,” Dirk smiled, nodding toward his better half. “I’m learning.”
Earlier in the evening, a security guard at the front door was told that among the arriving guests would be “Fancy Nancy.” He asked, “How will I know which one she is?” The answer: “You’ll know.” The guard smiled as all the arrivals were looking pretty darn fancy as they pulled up in their spotless luxury vehicles to be greeted by name by the valets. But after a final call was made for guests to take their seats for dinner, a trio arrived and the security guard gave a thumbs-up that “Fancy Nancy” had indeed arrived. It was, of course, Nancy Rogers, in Dior, accompanied by pals Michael Flores and Douglas Carney.
Inside the ballroom, the temperature was meat-locker cold with the plan that, once the room filled, the body count would raise the temperature. However, some ladies, like Nancy Cain Marcus, sought more immediate comfort wearing their date’s jackets. In Nancy’s case, the wrap belonged to Don Fischer. … Others spotted in the ballroom included Moll and Charlie Anderson, Kara and Randall Goss, Erin Duvall with Clane LaCrosse, Kristen and Reed Gibbins, Rhonda and Fraser Marcus, Crawford Brock, Laura Roosevelt with Brad Hillinger, Brian Bolke and Faisal Halum, Marlene and John Sughrue, Mary McDermott Cook with Dan Patterson, Kelli and Gerald Ford, Becca Cason with Ceron, Cara and Jim French and Kelli and Allen Questrom.
As the evening proceeded, guests enjoyed a three-course seated dinner (think citrus-crusted salmon and pan-roasted merluza, plus desserts), entertainment by Eclipse dancers, a live auction of nine items conducted by Robby Gordy of Christie’s New York, and an after-party presided over by DJ Elusive.
A highlight of the live auction was the trip to Mexico for eight people, with Agustin as tour guide. When the bidding hit the six-figure mark, the two top contenders were satisfied by each getting their wished-for-trip at $110,000 each.
Still another event memory-maker came on the dance floor, when one tall-drink-of-water gal wrapped one of her long legs around her fella.
Proceeds from the gala directly benefit the DMA’s collection and special exhibitions, as well as its public programs.