Dallas' Crystal Charity Ball 2023 exhibits the art of a masterpiece gala
Crystal Charity Ball 2023 brought artistic élan to Dallas' most glamorous gala.
Ball chair Angie Kadesky crafted the theme “Masterpieces in the Making,” which, she had explained, would be a double entendre: "While classic artistic masterpieces will be the decorative motif at the ball, the real masterpieces in the making are the children we serve."
Specifically this year, the local charities chosen as Crystal Charity Ball beneficiaries were: After School All Stars, Buckner Children Family Services, Fair Park First, Family Gateway, Metrocare Services, Salvation Army of North Texas, YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, and The Crystal Charity Ball 70th Anniversary Project: Action Before Crisis. The grand finale of Dallas’ fall fundraising season pledged to raise $6 million in 2023, and has given nearly $200 million to local children’s charities in its 71 years.
On December 9, the Hilton Anatole Hotel's entryway, foyer, and ballroom were filled with installations and vignettes that paid homage to great art and artists throughout history.
Upon arrival, more than 1,500 patrons donning dapper tuxedos and gorgeous gowns strolled down a corridor that set the tone for the evening. Artists' names (Klimt, Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet), were projected onto the covered sidewalk leading up to the building. Through the doors, tableaux of visual and performing artists lined either side of the entry - a ballet dancer posed, a harpist played, and actors portrayed a writer, opera singer, fashion designer, and sculptor.
They all led up to a stunning vignette in which Vincent Van Gogh posed as though he were painting The Starry Night. "Vincent" (whose costume, yes, included an ear bandage) obliged the many, many requests to pose for a selfie in this most Instagrammable of spots.
The centerpiece of the atrium was a replica Louvre Pyramid, which illuminated in different colors. Guests gathered around it with their glasses of bubbly and hand-shaken martinis, and noshed from a spread of Iberico Ham Toasts, Heirloom Caprese Tomatoes, and the CCB's famous jumbo shrimp.
Crystal Charity Ball isn't just Dallas' most glittering gala but one of the biggest fashion nights of the year, too. Kadesky looked like she'd stepped out of a painting in her blue-green Patti Flowers ballgown; Mary Martha Pickens donned a Michael Faircloth design in the same shade. Heather Esping, Lisa-Adelle O'Brien, and Lucy Gussoni chose creations by Carolina Herrera. Marena Gault and Emily Ash stunned in Nardos gowns, and Katy Brooks stood out in a colorful design by Ese Azenabor. (Notably, Dallas designers Patti Flowers, Nardos Imam, and Ese Azenabor were all in attendance.)
After posing for the Fashion Cam presented by NorthPark and having professional portraits made by John French Photography, it was time to win some fun money or spend it for a good cause - or in the case of the big winners at the casino, to do both. Winnings could be redeemed for home decor, children's toys, and gifts in The Gift Gallery.
Across the room, guests were bidding fast and furiously on their phones in the silent auction. Up for grabs were magnificent trips, fine jewelry and fashions, artwork, dining and sports excursions, and unique experiences (such as the chance to control the color of Bank of America Plaza in downtown Dallas for a night).
When the Chantilly Ballroom doors opened for dinner, towering, fragrant floral designs by Junior Villanueva of The Garden Gate transported guests to Monet’s Garden at Giverny. An orchestra played on the stage, in front of a long screen that projected masterpiece artworks.
Patrons dined on a sumptuous French-inspired dinner of Marinated Crab Salad with painted green goddess, violette gelee, and orange creme; Cote de Boeuf with smoked carrot puree, baby root vegetables in a red wine demi; and for dessert, "Piece de la Resistance," a most photogenic flourless chocolate torte decorated with a chocolate-gold paintbrush and Mona Lisa garnish.
It didn't take long for the music to gear up again and for the crowd to fill the dance floor. The party band Simply Irresistible kept the room on its feet long after the last bites of dessert had been eaten.
Those with tired feet scooped up their 2023 Children's Book (dedicated to the late Norma Hunt) and party favors (a handcrafted Annieglass Handkerchief Votive) and either headed back to the casino, checked on their silent auction bids, or fueled up for the drive home with hot coffee and freshly made doughnuts at the valet stand.
Per tradition, Tom Addis of Tom Addis Productions, Inc. spearheaded the design of the ball, but hundreds of venders and CCB committee members made the event and its mission a success. They included Heather Esping (silent auction chairman), Jennifer Dix (Children's Book chairman), Mary Martha Pickens (underwriting chairman), Elizabeth Gambrell (foundations chairman), Amy Hegi (special gifts chairman), Patty Leyendecker (fashion show chairman), Ola Fojtasek (charity selection chairman), Patti Flowers, and Marybeth Conlon (contribution ticket co-chairs). Cheryl Joyner is the chairman-elect.
Also spotted among the crowd, enjoying the evening were: Ross Cohen, Rebecca Rochelle, Mandy Austin, Molly Taylor, Travis Mathews, Brittney Mathews, Mackenzie Rodgers, Scott Rodgers, Sam Hawkins, Bevin Shaw, Roger Gault, Clorissa Diawara, Abdel Diawara, Rebecca LaRocco, Dee Dee Kiehn, Zan Banks, Thomas Banks, Emily Ellf, Jennifer Lind, Kelly Faulkner, Beth Godsey, Monica Davy, Lumi Gamble, Sean Gamble, Micheal Osburn, Rachel Osburn, Ellie Campion, Rob Campion, Priya Murphy, Bianca Davis, Kerry Peterson, Christine Danuser, Madelanie Lam, Pogir, Richard Gussoni, and many more patrons and supporters.