If there could be only one defining spring gala in Dallas, it would be Art Ball. As the Dallas Museum of Art’s primary fundraiser, it attracts the city’s most important civic and philanthropic leaders. It’s also one heck of a party.
This year’s theme — Horizon: Now, New, Next — paid homage to the museum’s past and present accomplishments while looking to the future. And if the event on April 21 itself was any indication, the future looks spectacular.
Thankfully, the rain held off while guests — including Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Capera Ryan, Jessica Nowitzki, Deedie Rose, Jennifer and Tom Karol, Lisa and Clay Cooley, Kim and Shannon Wynne, Carmeleta Whitely, Mayor Mike Rawlings, Clarice Tinsley, and Ron Kirk — arrived. Once inside the tent, they paused to take pictures at the step-and-repeat before grabbing a tequila-laced Horizon cocktail or a glass of Ruinart Champagne and finding their fellow merrymakers.
There’s always a party trick during the reception, and this time it was a Fendi-themed photo booth. As you can imagine, the accessories were fabulous — furs, sunglasses, handbags — ensuring Instagram-worthy snaps every time.
Just as the reception started to reach critical mass, mustachioed virtual emcee Salvador Dallas (see what they did there?) popped up on a big screen to tell everyone to find their tables. Salvador continued to direct the program from inside the dinner tent, where everything was bathed in a pretty pink light and dancers from the renowned Quixotic Cirque Nouveau flanked each side of the stage.
Once settled in, Agustín Arteaga, the Eugene McDermott director of the DMA, and board president Catherine Rose said their opening remarks via prerecorded video. They couldn’t stop singing the praises of gala chairwoman Rebecca Enloe Fletcher, who must have felt a great sense of pride — and relief! — that the evening was going off without a hitch.
After dinner was served — sous vide pork belly carbonara with spinach, English peas, and tomatoes to start, followed by pan-roasted loup de mer with Petrossian caviar, romanesco, and purple and orange cauliflower — the live auction could begin in earnest. Up for grabs were nine extraordinary experiences, and auctioneer Brook Hazelton of Christie’s was bound and determined to secure top dollar for each.
And what a job he — and DMA patrons — did: Proceeds from the live auction totaled $343,000. The three packages that drew the most excitement were a trip for six via private plane to Denver to see the U.S. debut of Dior: From Paris to the World at the Denver Art Museum (including Dior handbags!), which raised $28,000; two bespoke chef’s dinners with Bruno Davaillon of Buillon, at $12,000 a pop; and an art-driven trip for five couples to the United Arab Emirates, led by Arteaga, which sold twice for $85,000 both times.
With the live auction concluded, the after-party could begin, with a soundtrack courtesy of DJ Valida. The music could be heard all the way out to the valet line, inspiring some dance moves from Elaine Agather and Shelle Sills.
Not including this year's event, which also counted more than $500,000 from sponsors in its fundraising total, Art Ball has raised more than $28 million for the DMA.