We still have visions of red dancing in our heads from Untitled: Art Ball 2013 at the Dallas Museum of Art, a charitable gala so spectacular no name could do it justice.
Honorary co-chair Mayor Mike Rawlings expressed it best. “These ladies went big,” he said, referring to co-chairs Jennifer Karol and Catherine Rose, who went above and beyond for the DMA’s largest fundraiser — during the same week as the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, Dallas International Film Festival and Dallas Art Fair.
Their efforts paid off, surpassing all Art Ball expectations. Which is no easy feat, considering how fabulous previous affairs have been.
Attendees abided by the request for unconventional attire, an elegant complement to Todd Fiscus’ swanky red design. Ladies donned gowns of all lengths, colors and textures, but by far the most stunning were Karol, in a tight mesh V-panel dress by Tom Ford, and Rose, in a red gown designed by her sister-in-law, Lela Rose.
After registering via smartphone for the bidding, Jessica Olsson Nowitzki, Nancy Carlson, Cindy Rachofsky, Brian Bolke, Faisal Halum, Ceron, Nicholas Hall, Capera Ryan, Sheryl and Eric Maas, Kristie Ramirez, Tom Hoitsma, Toni Munoz-Hunt, Daniel Hunt, Merry Vose, Tracy Hayes, Karen Katz, and Carol and Don Glendenning poured into the Hamon Atrium to peruse the silent auction items. They carefully weaved the crowd, so as not to spill their cocktails.
When the bells rang, attendees made their way into the tented dining area, stopping to admire the Cartier-clad models in the walkway. The centerpiece of the dining tent was the magnificent red Mark Di Suvero sculpture that graces the DMA’s front lawn. Further sexing up the scene were red carpet, TV screens dangling from the ceiling, and organic and sculptural centerpieces.
As guests dined on the first course of Maine lobster salad, they looked up at the screen to see Elaine Agather, who said, “This is Masterpiece Classic.” Then, when they heard music from Downton Abbey begin to play, they knew this would be no ordinary video presentation.
Maxwell L. Anderson, Karol, Rose, Rawlings, Rachofsky, John Eagle, Olivier Meslay and Deedie Rose starred in a spoof of the popular PBS show called Downtown Artsy. In the short, the Lord Grantham character, played by Anderson, broke the news about free admission to the museum.
The cast not-so-subtly name-dropped and product-placed all of the sponsors — from Anderson’s Cartier timepiece to BMW car keys to a coffee sleeve from presenting sponsor The Joule — giving a humorous nod to their generosity and support. The crowd roared when grand dame Margaret McDermott made a cameo at the end.
Table chatter turned when DJ Mia Moretti and electric violinist Caitlin Moe of The Dolls gave a spectacularly edgy performance. Moe’s high-energy movements onstage suited the exciting evening.
Then the big-deal fundraising began, as Christie’s Lydia Wickliffe Fenet led the live auction featuring luxury items such as an ultimate ensemble excursion with Lela Rose and VBH in NYC, the chance to perform with Polyphonic Spree, and adventures in Amsterdam with Viktor & Rolf. We caught Rawlings kissing Jennifer Eagle’s hand after she purchased the first live auction item.
After the dinner and auction, reenergized enthusiasts — led by Karol and Rose, who changed into shorter, flirtier attire —flocked to the after-party, where they danced the night away to old-school beats by the Pop Rocks. All tallied, this year's fete raised $2.25 million for the DMA.
Watch Downtown Artsy, the Downton Abbey spoof presented by Untitled: Art Ball 2013: