2009 UNGALA GALA WRAP UP
SARASOTA, Fla. – Oct. 29, 2009 – 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. Untraditional changes made for another undeniable festive affair that kicked-off Sarasota’s social season while supporting the Ringling Museum of Art.
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.
Guests were greeted by Fuzion Dance Artists and Higher Ground Performing Arts Studio in the front circle as they sipped champagne before entering the Courtyard. After having their photos snapped in front of the red carpet aptly placed in the Museum of Art lobby, guests arrived in the Courtyard to the beat of conga drums and guitars by Claudio Baltierra Senior and Junior.
Brightly colored linens in orange, pink, purple, turquoise and lime green, courtesy of Panache Party Rentals, draped tables adorned with candles throughout the Courtyard and more than 8,400 white lights twinkled from the Museum’s beautifully manicured gardens. Palm trees and plants, donated by 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 grazing on Michael’s On East’s unbelievable stations of Cuban-inspired fare of fried plantains, rice, black beans and pork. A large paellera of paella became a center-piece in its own right and a tribute to Cuba’s culinary tastes. And, back by popular demand, a dessert buffet overflowing with miniature portions of sugary favorites and hand-held pretzel smores 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, undoubtly a nod to the island’s laid-back spirit. 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 support. Additionally, Biter Enterprises and Publix Super Markets Charities were top-level sponsors. 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.