Photography by Peter Acker
2009 UnGala Gala
"Una Noche en la Habana"
The season’s first chill couldn’t keep partygoers from heating up the Museum of Art’s Courtyard a la Cuban-style at the hottest fundraising party of the year. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art’s 24th Annual UnGala Gala was another unbelievable evening Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009.
Unlike tradition, the Una Noche En La Habana theme was unveiled prior to the evening. A nod to Cuba’s tropical abundance, yellow-gold invitations, created by Lindsay Howell, adorned with floral motifs and fashioned into postcards set the color palette and tone for the evening’s festive affair. Guests, clad in festive Unattire—women in colorful, feminine dresses and fresh flowers in their hair and men in linen suits, signature Guayavera shirts and straw hats—came ready to dance the night away under a moonlit sky in the Museum of Art’s Courtyard.
Other UnGala Gala event highlights included:
• Dancing and Musical performances by Fuzion Dance Artists and Higher Ground Performing Arts Studio in the front circle as they sipped champagne before entering the Courtyard.
• Red carpet photo opportunity in the Art Museum Lobby. Sarasota Magazine also snapped photos for best “UnDressed” contest in four categories: Male, Female, Couple, and Group on the Loggia.
• Guests entered the Courtyard to the beat of conga drums and guitars by Claudio Baltierra Senior and Junior.
• Brightly colored linens in orange, pink, yellow and lime green, courtesy of Panache Party Rentals, draped tables adorned with candles and tropical floral centerpieces throughout the Courtyard. More than 8,400 white lights twinkled from the Museum’s beautifully manicured gardens. Special effect lighting by Bay Stage Lighting Co., along with palm trees and plants donated by The Plant Place and Plant Parents, completed the tropical oasis.
• Guests sipped cocktails provided by Mattison’s Culinary Group and an ice bar sponsored by Ketel One, while dining on Michael’s On East’s unbelievable stations of Cuban-inspired fare. A huge dessert buffet overflowing with miniature portions of sugary favorites and hand-held pretzel smores by Wired Whisk Bakehouse delighted the crowd.
• The theme continued with the entertainment as Cuban dancers inspired guests to dance the night way to the beat of City Lights, a ten-piece dance band from Miami. Party-goers lounged on low sofas flush with cozy orange pillows donated by Rainer Scheer of Chillounge Night. And of course a night in Havana could not go unfinished without hand-rolled cigars by Serafin Cigars.
The 2009 UnGala Gala was undeniably another incredible success. Undoubtedly, this was due to the outstanding efforts of co-chairs Nicole Kaney and Lindsay Howell, their executive committee, and Ringling Museum staff support. The funds raised at the UnGala Gala allow the Museum to continue to bring educational programming and high caliber exhibitions to the community throughout the year, supporting the mission of the Museum.