On April 22, the Dallas Museum of Art hosted the 52nd annual Art Ball, its premier fundraising gala. Chairs Ann and Lee Hobson beamed as they welcomed the city’s preeminent supporters to the institution devoted to unfettered access to art for all. No doubt they also were tickled to see starlet Anne Hathaway among the well-heeled guests on this breezy spring evening.
Inspired by one of the museum’s most recent acquisitions — Flowers in a Vase with Two Doves, by 19th-century French painter Francois Lepage — this year’s gala exuded French elegance. Credit for that goes to event-planning master Todd Fiscus, who appeared relaxed and contented, as if everything were executed precisely how he imagined it.
After posing for photos at the step-and-repeat, attendees — including Melissa and Trevor Fetter, Nancy and Clint Carlson, Marlene and John Sughrue, Jennifer and Tom Karol, Brian Bolke, Muffin Lemak, Capera Ryan, Lynn and Allan McBee, Megan Bowdon and Joey Wilkinson, Erin Cluley and Tearlach Hutcheson, and Jenny and John Kirtland —made the rounds during cocktail hour. They paused to catch up with friends and posed for the caricature and silhouette artists stationed in the magnificently appointed tent. A violinist provided the soundtrack as the conversation and champagne flowed.
The crowd then moved into the dining tent, where DMA Eugene McDermott director Agustin Arteaga provided opening remarks. This was his first Art Ball in his new role, and he expressed sincere gratitude to the Hobsons for their vision and the guests for their unwavering support. He also sweetly wished Ann a happy birthday, her 50th.
Dinner itself was a masterpiece: Petrossian caviar and potatoes with lemon crema and chives, angel hair pasta with morel mushrooms and quail confit, pan-roasted Rhode Island wild fluke with spring vegetables and tomato fumet, and an assortment of bite-sized desserts that included opera cake with espresso buttercream and chocolate macaron. Because: French.
Also French was the live auction package that drove the bidding to $120,000 — twice: a seven-day stay for 14 guests at a private chateau nestled in a nature preserve in the south of France. The live auction provided some of the best action of the night, in fact. In addition to the $240,000 garnered for this exclusive French getaway, the bidding jumped to $50,000 for a Roman holiday, Fendi-style.
Not too shabby was the $22,000 netted for a foodie fantasy for 12 provided by two of Dallas’ hottest chefs — Nick Badovinus and Julian Barsotti — who are opening restaurants at Highland Park Village.
Over the past 20 years, the Art Ball has raised more than $27 million to support the Dallas Museum of Art’s mission of engaging and educating the community through art.