Another Art Alive has come and gone and I’m always amazed at how totally satisfied and energized I feel after an extremely successful year of this event, while also being completely physically and emotional depleted. It’s a yearlong effort for me that takes many weeks to mentally recover from. This year was no different. I’m over the moon about how divine everything turned out and the buzz that is still in the air. Our Premiere Dinner that kicks off the event for our donors is the ultimate test of these contrary feelings. This event is the one that raises the most money over the weekend and has the most pressure. It must be very high touch, surprising, art-centered and utterly glamorous. No small feat for an event with a nonprofit budget and attendees that go to exquisite parties all over the world. Somehow I seem to pull this off year after year. It’s a bit terrifying every year to hear “how on earth will you ever top last year” and “there’s no way it could possibly get better.” Flattering I suppose…yet all the while a big scary challenge to have this monumental task placed in my hands. I choose to take this challenge head on year after year knowing it’s always a big risk with big reward for the whole museum if done right.I like to say that stepping into the dinner space each year is like getting a glimpse inside my mind. I dare say it’s true. Not many people dream of glittering champagne bubble ceilings and vintage gold forks…but I do.

This year we opened an exhibition of Nancy Lorenz’ artwork called Moon Gold alongside the Art Alive exhibition. It’s a glittering gilded fantasy of an exhibition and it inspired this year’s Rotunda Installation and the dinner was set in the adjoining gallery. As guests entered the cocktail hour, they were greeted by the amazingly overwhelming “Infinite Garden” Installation by the amazing floral artists Natasha and Daniel at Waterlily Pond. It was a 40’ rotating gold double helix with cascading flowers in warm tones. It perfectly captured the mood of Nancy Lorenz work blended with the festive fun of Art Alive. It was pure perfection. I of course dressed to match in a matte gold sequin gown by Dress the Population.

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After much time admiring this installation and getting our full of Veuve and spun gold cocktails, it was time for dinner. We opened the doors and the guests got their first view of the Moon Gold exhibition. Liquid gold canvases in many hues, mother of pearl inlay and elaborate painted screens set the scene for the rest of the evening.

As the guests drew near the dinner room, hints of movement could be scene. Vario Productions constructed me a full floor to ceiling projection room with scrolling  images of Nancy’s work and alternating video imagery set to elicit the feeling of being inside of her paintings. PEP creative executed my design for the ceiling treatment meant to make you feel like you were inside a glittering bubbling champagne glass. The custom swooped tables alternated poured Gold and Silver contrasting details including the gorgeous gilded centerpieces from Green Fresh Florals. The ethereal sounds of the shadowlands band and the tantalizing fare from Cost helped round out the senses to make it a truly immersive dining experience.

04261892b0007204261892b0006804261892b0003704261892b0005004261892b0004104261892b0010604261892b00238As the final course was served, the mood was light and festive. I was nearing time to leave this heavenly space and adjourn to return to the rotunda for more music, mingling and sweet treats. Everyone was a bubbly as the champagne and it was so nice to hear how everyone had been inspired by the nights revelries.

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I was told once again “best dinner yet” and “how will you possibly top this next year?” All I can say is that I’m up for the challenge and to stay tuned for another peek inside my brain. I wish I could say I actually had time to take a load off after this magical night, but Art Alive had just begun. Bloom Bash was looming and I cant wait to share the details of that night next week.

~SG

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