Ringling Museum Hosts Exclusive Gala Experience
Sarasota, FL—March 7, 2008- One-hundred guests dined among the great masters including Rubens, van Dyck, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Velázquez, El Greco and Reynolds on Friday, Feb. 29, 2008 at The John and Mable Ringling Museum’s first Gallery Gala.
Friends, colleagues and clients of gallery hosts enjoyed small, semi-private parties in individual galleries of the north wing of the Museum of Art.
“The evening was truly an unforgettable experience for the nearly 100 guests who joined their hosts in the Ringling Museum’s permanent galleries,” says Dr. John Wetenhall, Executive Director of the Ringling Museum. “It is our hope that we can build on the energy and success of this first gala so that it becomes the season’s favorite for community members who want a one-of-a-kind experience in one of the world’s leading museums.”
The evening began with a cocktail reception with elegant music by a harp trio provided by Romanza strings in the Rubens Galleries. Exclusive parties where then called to a private dinner in individual galleries, each named for a famous painting within the gallery.
Upon being seated, Dr. John Wetenhall and members of the Museum’s Curatorial Department provided customized introductions to each gallery, highlighting the significant paintings and important works appearing just beyond the dinner table.
The Museum’s curatorial department includes Dr. Stephen Borys, the Ulla R. Searing Curator of Collections, Dr. Virginia Brilliant, Assistant Curator of European Art and Alexandra Libby, Assistant Curator of European Art.
Guests enjoyed one another’s company and the harmonious sounds of strolling violinists, provided by DeLeon Entertainment, while dining on a delectable five-course dinner of petite filet mignon with sauce béarnaise and yellowtail snapper in a citrus bueurre blanc catered by Mattison’s Culinary Group. Dinner was followed by a trio dessert exclusively made for the gala; a dark chocolate “painting” of a gold-emblazoned Ringling “R” perched atop an easel made of dark chocolate.
After dinner, each party returned to the Rubens Galleries to feast on platters of exotic fruit and cheese and enjoy entertainment by the harp trio.
"The evening exceeded our expectations in every way,” said Michelle McKay, co-chair of the Gallery Gala. “From the moment guests entered the galleries until the moment they left, guests had a world-class experience in one of the most beautiful settings in the country.” Senator John and Michelle McKay and Senator Marlow and Nancy Cook were co-chairs of the gala.
Funds from the 2008 Gallery Gala support the Museum’s special exhibitions and education and enrichment programs.
The Frank E. Duckwall Foundation, Pittsburgh Pirates and Audio Visual Innovations were official sponsors of the Gala.
For more information, please contact Public Relations Manager Lynn Hobeck Bates at 941.359.5700 Ext. 2803.