Monday, February 2, 2009

Palm Springs Art Museum "Pizazz" Gala 2009

In yesterday's Sunday Art Review post, I mentioned that I spent Saturday evening at the Palm Springs Art Museum. I had the pleasure of attending the "Pizazz 2009 Gala", which was the theme for their annual fundraiser event. A few years ago the Palm Springs Art Museum reinvented itself, removing the long term exhibits about desert wildlife and topography, in favor of building an impressive art collection. It was an excellent decision, propelling the PS Art Museum into the forefront of contemporary art galleries of its size. Palm Springs is a fairly well-to-do community that generously supports a wide range of local and nation-wide charities, as well as a stunning array of local cultural and educational institutions. The Palm Springs Art Museum is one such institution that thrives due to an active support base and an enthusiastic community. Before I go any further, I feel compelled to preempt any snippy thoughts about the nature of this lavish event. In the Palm Springs area, there are 250 different charitable events, galas or fundraisers that take place EVERY year. The sheer volume of invitations to events and requests for donations can be quite staggering. Naturally, folks pick and choose their favorite charities to support each year. Where I am going with this is that in order for the various organizations to attract enough people to fork out the high price of tickets, they need to plan interesting events, parties, dinners or entertainment- all fully underwritten by donors to ensure that the money raised from ticket sales actually goes to the intended source. The "Pizazz Gala 2009" was a great example of an event that people were drawn to because of the excitement and buzz created around the party itself. Allow me to take you through the highlights of the fabulous evening....

A Dramatic Entrance...

above: the main stairs were adorned with blinking glow-sticks that illuminated the railings. At the top of the stairs were colorful spotlights shining into the desert sky.

above: As I stepped into the main lobby of the museum, it had been transformed into a sort of fantasy garden. Fresh flowers surrounded the normal "pup sculpture" as if it were romping through a field of Gerber daises.

above: Stilt walkers dressed in African costumes danced and greeted guests while a steel-drum band played in the background.

above: Whimsical characters were meandering and interacting with guests; I paused for this photo- note that the marionette guy is on stilts with fake puppet legs...

above: The African stilt dancers were having all sorts of fun and made the atmosphere seem so fun.

above: the tall giant sunflowers were spinning to the beat of the music. Note the light effect on the wall behind the band. That is the normal wall in the museum, I think its lava rock or something like that. I've always admired it even without the dramatic lights.

above: The belly-bar tables were scattered throughout the museum, yet safely away from any art installations. They had "drink drop" stations to leave your drink and meander through the galleries.

above: "Living statues" such as this one above were positioned on platforms among the guests, and moved ever-so-slowly. She looked like a marble statue, until she moved! The appetizer buffet tables had tall bouquets of flowers.
And then a Dramatic Surprise for Dinner

above: The dining area had been closed off, hidden from guests until the precise moment of its unveiling. One of the normal galleries had been transformed into a bright flower garden; with "trees" on each table, surrounded by walls with projections of flowers, purple mountains, Lily ponds and graceful trees. Overhead, there were soft sounds of birds and crickets chirping, creating a full effect of sitting in an outdoor garden for dinner. It was truly spectacular.

above: Using the flash, you can see the "tree" on each table.

above: The dinner tables were beautifully set, with amazing arrangements of fresh tulips and wildflowers. Dinner started with martini-glasses filled with fresh chopped salad, followed by an osso bucco entrée.
above: Fabulous dessert ended the meal. It was a lemon bombe that was shaped like a miniature pineapple made from meringue. It was served with two dark chocolate rolled sticks. Mmmmm!
Exciting Entertainment Too!
To transition dinner guests from the dining room back to the lobby, groups of "bobby-soxer" 1950's style dancers came running in, dancing to several tunes designed to get people up on their feet. The girls wore poodle skirts and began escorting people out to a surprise...
above: The 1950's band The Coasters, known for hits like “Yakety Yak” and “Charlie Brown performed after dinner and entertained an excited crowd. In no time at all, The Coasters had the crowd of 350 people dancing and having a great time.
It was such a fun evening full of surprises and thrills at every turn. Major kudos to the board and Gala planning committee. Thanks to the generosity of the community, the museum had a successful fundraiser to support their efforts for another year. I'm so proud to have such a first rate art museum in our desert.
-Rick Rockhill


kenju said...

WOW! They really went all out, didn't they? I like all the decor.

Anonymous said...

That lemon bombe looks yummy.... so artfully served!

My stepmom would have LOVED that event. She used to work for and art museum and dealt with the major donors, so events like that were commonplace. She loves a good gala!

Oh, and the floral arragements were pretty cool!

I like the belly bars, too!

lime said...

looks like a wonderful event. and i enjoyed the tour yesterday too. thanks for sharing:)

Kathy said...

What an exciting community to live in!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

reminds me of palm beach! they really threw a gala didn't they? woo hoo!

smiles, bee

W.O.T.E. said...

Wowza! What a party!

© Karelian Blonde said...

Looks amazing! I want one of those giant sunflowers into my garden :)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

It looks like it was a smashing event. How much money did they raise? I hope it was successful in that area, too! Times are so tough these days...Charities are really struggling.

jackie said...

hey that must have been one heckuva party. Its very cool what they did to make it so interesting.

whimsical brainpan said...

It looks spectacular!

Olivia said...

Charming donors out of their money, eh? Hehe.

All in all, a very surreal event.


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