Form & Function
Dallas Museum of Art designs dazzling spring gala for picture-perfect evening
Hundreds of Dallas philanthropists and arts patrons donned their black-tie best for the most beloved gala of spring, Dallas Museum of Art's Art Ball.
Themed "Form + Function — A Celebration of Craftsmanship Throughout the Collection," the DMA's premier fundraiser celebrated the details captured among the museum's vast collection and the materials artists use to create them.
On an unseasonably warm spring evening April 27, ladies picked up their ballgown skirts and made their way, arm-in-arm with their dapper dates, up the stairs and into luxurious tents on the grounds of the DMA. Event planner extraordinaire Todd Fiscus and his team had brought the theme to life with vignettes and a bar installation of varying textures and materials. “Wood, marble, metal, paint, glass, and so much more were used to create texture and space design,” he explained in a post on Instagram.
Before securing a glass of Ruinart bubbly or lining up at the bar for craft cocktails, party-goers posed at the step-and-repeat and cheek-kissed with friends. Those mixing and mingling included Kara Goss, Randall Goss, Charlie Anderson, Moll Anderson, Alvise Orsini, Tim Adair, Faisal Halum, Angelia Venker, Greg Venker, ItzelCrow, Nathan Crow, Scott Smetko, Ashley Smetko, Jessica Nowitzki, and Dirk Nowitzki (looking sharp in a tux but utterly relaxed in retirement).
At the far end of the reception, an opportunity to help color a mural with brightly colored chalk allowed guests to try their own hand at design. Then they could pause at a high-top table and enjoy a bite or two of truffle popcorn.
When the dining tent opened, attendees streamed into a room fairy-tale ballroom, complete with floral installations hanging from the ceiling.
Dancers from a troupe called Eclipse introduced each part of the program with a choreographed vignette shadowed behind a large screen, adding to the mystical ambiance of the night.
Guests were given a warm welcome, via pre-recorded video, by event chairs Lindsey Collins and Amanda Shufeldt, and DMA Director Agustín Arteaga. Big thanks went to all the sponsors, with special recognition for presenting sponsor Headington Companies.
Each course of dinner was a work of art by Cassandra Fine Catering. First came citrus-cured salmon dotted with crème fraiche, caviar, and a delicate crispy potato. Main course was pan-roasted merluza with eggplant, tomato conserva, and water cress butter sauce, embellished with a colorful flower on top. Dessert paired a passion fruit tart with a milk chocolate mousse with dark chocolate bittersweet apricot truffle.
After dinner, auctioneer Robbie Gordy, associate vice president of Christie’s New York, took the stage for a live auction of nine extraordinary items that included a Viking river cruise in Europe; a New York fashion adventure; an art-filled birthday party at the DMA, and more.
Each package was introduced by Eclipse, with a shadowed dance vignette that spelled out a word at the end. Their introduction of a safari in Kenya, for example, created shapes of animals and spelled out “Africa." Bidding for the package got fierce and eventually fetched $50,000.
The most exciting auction moment of the night, though, was a bidding war that broke out for a trip to Mexico with the DMA’s Arteaga. Up to eight people could spend five days exploring the cultural institutions of Mexico City and enjoying fine dinners in private homes. In the end, one trip turned into two, each selling for an astounding $110,000.
To celebrate, servers brought out bottles of Maestro Dobel tequila for each table and a shot for each guest.
In total, the live auction alone raised $393,000.
With the live auction concluded, the after-party could begin, with the beats provided by DJ Elusive. Those who wanted to continue the evening kept the dance floor moving and the bartenders busy.
Not including this year's event, for which fundraising dollars are still being totaled, Art Ball has raised more than $28 million for the DMA. Such support, Arteaga told guests, has allowed the museum to engage nearly 830,000 visitors with free admission, present 31 special exhibitions, and provide access to learning experiences through more than 5,000 free or low-cost programs.
Among those helping to further the Art Ball efforts in 2019 were Natasha Hallam, Andrew Hallam, Kristen Gibbins, Reed Gibbins, John Dayton, Carlos Gonzalez-Jaime, Mary Noel Lamont, Justin Myer, Jake Walton, Susan McIntyre, Ingrid Van Haastrecht, Kim Bryan, David Huntley, Catherine Rose, Blake Wright, Fred Holston, Dhruv Narayanan, Prisha Gaddam, Abigail Rust, James Rust, Erin Duvall, Clane LaCrosse, Ashley Cathey, Louise Marsh, Lisa Robbins, Kimberly Rosenbaum, Nancy Neuhoff, and Ben Kelley.