Texas Biomedical Forum Gala Spring Gala Celebrates Belle Epoque

By Jake Gaines Photography by Greg Harrison and Super Q Photography



THE SETTING: On a beautiful evening recently, The Argyle set the scene for the Texas Biomedical Forum gala, themed The Night They Invented Champagne, that celebrated all things Belle Epoque Paris. Guests were greeted at the entry with a Nebuchadnezzar large format bottle of Perrier Jouët champagne. It was curated by The Argyle’s own Clay Wheeler and was served from a specially built pouring apparatus into classic vintage coupe champagne glasses. Passing by the antique Rolls Royce, guests shopped the many French-styled carts filled with silent auction items.

The pastoral lawn of The Argyle was plush with green topiaries, hanging baskets and red geraniums, setting the scene for a Parisian walk in the park, where guests delighted in cocktails and beautiful appetizers including escargot vol-au-vant, caviar, strawberries and brie, and mousse pâté on toast points. Guests’ then continued to feast on Executive Chef Jesse Villanueva’s French-inspired menu.

THE STYLE: After dinner, Doc Watkins and his orchestra, generously sponsored by Donna and Ted Welsh, livened up the crowd out onto the dance floor, where feather fans, boas and hand-rolled cigars appeared. Couples danced into the evening and even had the opportunity to have their portraits painted by Franco-Modini Ruiz. Patrons were re-fueled by Chef Jesse’s scrumptious Croque Monsieur and Pomme Frites while imbibing more bubbles.

THE PURPOSE: The event was chaired by Whitney Solcher Miller and co-chaired by Cynthia Kerby, with the design expertise of their gala assistant, Whitney Schones. Baubles were generously provided by Lee Michael’s Fine Jewelry, with the help of Jessica Berg and Heather de Rojas, who served as the favor co-chairs. Tables were sold out thanks to Audra Kerr, the event’s table sales chair, and numerous grants were received outside of the gala thanks to Corinna Richter, the gala grants chair. Emily Jones was the silent auction chair, along with Emilie Petty as her co-chair. Amy Swaney and Kim Johnson served as underwriting co-chairs, while Haley Conger led as the after party co-chair with Kristin Tips, who was also public relations chair. The organization was founded in 1970 by a group of inspiring and hardworking women with the same goal to support the life-changing and life-saving work being done at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute through community awareness and fundraising.



St. David’s Foundation Celebrates 35th Season Of Toast of the Town

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Matthew Fuller, Robert Godwin and Matt Lankes


THE SETTING: St. David’s Foundation recently celebrated a milestone in its annual Toast of the Town party series. Over the past 35 years, each Toast season has featured a series of intimate experiences at many of Austin’s most celebrated and exclusive event venues. This year’s Toast party season featured a record-setting 23 events that showcased the various interests and capped off another fabulous social season in Texas’ capital city.

THE STYLE: This year’s series of events featured a wide range of fun experiences ranging from intimate dinners for 12 to cocktails for 40. Sports enthusiasts were able to have lunch and a sideline conversation with UT Football Coach Tom Herman, while those wanting to learn about presidential history could experience an evening with the LBJ Foundation’s Mark Updegrove. Attendees who wanted to let down their hair were able to socialize and cut a rug on the dance floor at the Real Housewives of Lake Austin event, or learn more about what it is really like behind the scenes of the hit NBC series The Voice with contestant and Austinite, Reid Umstattd. Lastly, a series of curated, five-star events wouldn’t be complete without experiencing food and wine at some fabulous dinner parties. The Toast party season began with an intimate dinner for 12 atop the Austonian and concluded with dinner for 20 featuring Master Sommelier, Ian Cauble.

Each of the 23 experiences, while unique in theme, have a cohesive aesthetic that is evident the second you walk into any of the events. Each party features Austin Sociables donning their finest Austin-chic attire that perfectly complemented the warm, late-spring air. The intimate events are always highlighted and featured a warm welcome from one of the party hosts and a brief message from one of the scholarship recipients on how the St. David’s Foundation has positively impacted their life.

THE PURPOSE: St. David’s Foundation Toast of the Town, chaired by Ellen Troxclair with Cassie Bale serving as vice chair, raised $1.65 million for the St. David’s Neal Kocurek Scholarship Program. Since it’s founding, over 550 students have received scholarships, currently set at 7,500 dollars per year, for those seeking to pursue health-related careers at Texas colleges and universities.



Fifth Annual Global Wildlife Conservation Event Dazzles

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Georges Schemagin and Michael Kovac, Getty Images for Global Wildlife Conservation 


THE SETTING: Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater was the recent setting for the fifth annual Wild Night for Wildlife gala supporting the Global Wildlife Conservation. The event drew over 550 of the top sociables, philanthropists and community leaders from Austin and around the country for a night of epic fun and fundraising.

THE STYLE: The excitement was palpable for attendees as they ascended the steps to the second floor exterior mezzanine for the VIP cocktail reception. After posing for pictures on the red carpet, guests, dressed in their finest Austin-chic attire, mingled about the friendly crowd. The festivities moved inside to the Moody Theatre for the evening’s program where emcee Tate Donovan effortlessly kept the patrons entertained as they dined on a delectable, multi-course vegetarian menu. Highlights of the program included a spirited live-auction, a fireside chat with UN Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiveristy Edward Norton and Global Wildlife Conservation board chair Brian Sheth discussing the importance of conservation and saving endangered species. The festivities were capped off by a show-stopping performance by Austin’s own Queen of Soul, Temeca Jones.

THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Kelly Green and Julie Jumonville, and hosted by Brian and Adria Sheth, raised over four million dollars for the Global Wildlife Conservation. The mission of the GWC is to support the diversity of life on Earth through scientific research, biodiversity exploration, habitat conservation, protected area management, wildlife crime prevention, endangered species recovery and conservation leadership.



Dallas Museum of Art’s 54th Annual Art Ball Highlights Museum’s Permanent Collection

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Tamytha Cameron and George Fiala


THE SETTING: A picture-perfect evening on the beautiful grounds of the Dallas Museum of Art was the setting for one of Texas’ most anticipated annual fundraising events. The 54th annual Art Ball by the Dallas Museum of Art titled Form & Function: A Celebration of Craftsmanship Throughout the Collection showcased the beauty and breadth of the museum’s permanent collection. In all, several hundred of the state’s most influential and prominent art patrons, philanthropists and collectors attended to celebrate this beloved and iconic destination of the Arts.

THE STYLE: The fun began for the black-tie crowd with a lively cocktail hour where long-time friends reacquainted and new friends were made as they sipped cocktails courtesy of Belvedere, Glenmorangie, Hennessy and Ruinart. Partygoers were dazzled by the gorgeous décor inspired by the DMA’s permanent collection, with a moss green, dusty rose and raw wood palette that perfectly captured both the essence of the permanent collection and the late-spring evening. Adding to the fun was a mural sponsored by Neiman Marcus where patrons were invited to express their artistic side by coloring on the mural in bold and bright colors.

The festivities continued as guests took their seats to enjoy a delectable four course dinner catered by Cassandra Fine Catering, where the conversation flowed as freely as the wines that accompanied the meal. As the dessert portion was being served, the live auction commenced. Robbie Gordy of Christie’s helmed the spirited bidding which netted over $390,000 and included such luxe items as a Kenyan Safari, an exclusive fashion experience with Moda Operandi and a first-timer experience at the upcoming Two X Two for AIDS and Art. The evening was capped off with an after party where revelers danced the night away into the wee hours of the morning to the tunes of DJ Elusive.

THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Lindsey Collins and Amanda Shufeldt, raised funds for Dallas Museum of Art’s community engagement and education programs for the iconic Dallas institution that draws over 800,000 visitors annually. Over the past 54 years, DMA’s Art Ball has raised over $29 million to support this mission.



The Classically Cliburn Gala Evokes Parisian Theme

By Jake Gaines Photography by Joyce Marshall


THE SETTING: Fort Worth’s Ridglea Country Club served as the perfect venue to celebrate the achievements of The Cliburn, a vital part of the cultural landscape in the city and beyond. The evening, with its Passion Paris theme for the Classically Cliburn event, consisted of 440 Cliburn friends and supporters who gathered for the gala celebration that was considered the city’s party of the year.

THE STYLE: The black-tie event featured an elegant reception, evoking the Parisiaenergy of the evening. A sumptuous y seated dinner was served with a très chic Paris supper club theme. Then, the patrons danced to the music of Jimmy Vali and his 13-piece band while classic casino games were also played throughout the evening. The locale, with the décor created by Stage Works and floral decorations by Rusty Glenn Designs, was transformed by capturing the architecture, elegance, and style of the City of Love.

THE PURPOSE: Anne Marie and Doug Bratton chaired the event and Mildred Hedrick Fender served as the honorary chair. The Classically Cliburn gala is the organization’s signature fundraising event. Funds raised secure and enhance Cliburn programs, and strengthen its ability to carry out its mission to advance classical piano music throughout the world. Its international competitions, educational programs, and concert series embody an enduring commitment to artistic excellence and the discovery of young artists.



Phi Beta Phi Alumnae Club And San Antonio Public Library Foundation Raise Funds At Luncheon

By Jake Gaines Photography by Greg Harrison


THE SETTING: San Antonio Alumnae Club of Pi Beta Phi hosted its 14th annual Gourmet Soirée event at the San Antonio Country Club benefiting the San Antonio Public Library Foundation. Over 350 attendees were on hand for the gathering that featured model and actress Elizabeth Chambers, and owner of Bird Bakery (and a University of Texas Alpha Pi Phi alumna) agreed to be the celebrity chef for the event. Following in the tradition of the past Gourmet Soirées, Chambers conducted a cooking demonstration before the luncheon that followed.

THE STYLE: The ballroom’s beautifully dressed guests in luncheon suits and dresses were delighted when Chambers demonstrated the preparation for her famous monster cookies and her grandmother’s English Trifle. On the event tables were a two-stemmed potted orchid centerpiece from Baker Tatum, and book plates to be placed in a book distributed by SAPLF ready for personalization. Raffle tickets were also sold for the opportunity to win one of two $1500 gift cards to Julian Gold and Kelly Wade Jewelers.

THE PURPOSE: Amelita Mauzé and Kelly Wade Fry, who was a Pi Phi sister of Chambers, co-chaired the event. The mission of Pi Beta Phi sorority for women is to promote friendship, develop women of intellect and integrity, cultivate leadership potential and enrich lives through community service. The San Antonio Public Library Foundation was established in 1983 with the mission to strengthen the library in service to the community. Since its inception, SAPLF has contributed nearly $40 million in financial support and added awareness to improve the city’s public libraries.