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.



House Of DIFFA’s Futuro Gala Celebrates With Future Vision

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Joseph Brewster and Thomas Garza 


THE SETTING: Dallas’ Omni Hotel was the recent setting of House of DIFFA’s Futuro gala. Over 1,400 of Dallas’ social, philanthropic and community leaders turned out for an evening of fun and fundraising while looking forward to a future where there is zero stigma, deaths and new infections of HIV/AIDS. The evening began in the ballroom level of the Omni where guests enjoyed cocktails while taking part in DIFFA’s legendary silent auction. Each year DIFFA’s silent auction features dozens of custom tailored jackets from world-renowned designers. This year kept the tradition by featuring pieces from Zac Posen, Dolce & Gabbana, Badgley Mischka, Christian Lacroix and many others.

THE STYLE: The festivities moved to the ballroom where patrons made their way to their tables against the backdrop of dancers in LED light ensembles creating the perfect complement to the Futuro theme of the event. During the program, as guests dined on multi-course meals, members of DIFFA’s style council walked the runway, and speeches by DIFFA leadership and several awards were presented to those in North Texas who have been futuristic visionaries in combating the fight against HIV and AIDS. The program continued with a live auction sponsored by Ebby Halliday and hosted by comedian Dana Goldberg that raised over $325,000.

The fun continued as revelers, greeted by Bravo TV personality Carson Kressley, were treated to a dazzlingly futuristic fashion show. Among the treats viewed by the audience were fashions from Forty Five Ten and Traffic LA and a dance performance by Gwendolynne Murphy dressed up as a “Fembot”. The show was wrapped up with models donning three Iris Von Herpen dresses that were flown in from Paris specifically for the show. The festivities were capped off with an after party where partygoers danced the night away to the tunes of DJ Lucy Wrubel.

THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Tim Garippa, raised funds for DIFFA/Dallas which provides funds to organizations dedicated to fighting against HIV and AIDS in North Texas. Founded in 1984, DIFFA has given over eight million dollars to 25 organizations in North Texas providing care to those living with HIV and AIDS.



The 10th Annual Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational Gala


By Cynthia Smoot    Photography by Ada Lee Photography, Axxess and Marcy Meeks 


THE SETTING:  Recently, Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts hosted the 10th Annual Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational celebration of ten years of service, philanthropy and positive community impact for the Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities. This star-studded soiree included sports icons and entertainment luminaries such as Eric Dickerson, Eddie George, Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris, Torii Hunter, Christopher “Kid” Reid of Kid ‘N Play, John Rocker, and Melissa Rycroft Strickland.

THE STYLE: Guests began the evening at the Omni Frisco Hotel with a red-carpet arrival and cocktail hour followed by dinner and a live auction. Roger Staubach presented his eponymous award to Jessica and Dirk Nowitzki in acknowledgment of the amazing work they have done through The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation. LaTorsha and LaDainian Tomlinson were presented with The Changemaker Award and long term donors Dee Lincoln, David and Tina Craig and Lamonte Thomas were recognized for their unwavering support over the past ten years with the All Star Partner Award.

THE PURPOSE: Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and his wife, Marianne, served as honorary chairs with Mahisha and John Dellinger serving as the event’s chairs. Now in its 10th year, with this year’s title sponsor Healthcare Highways, the organization has raised more than 9.2 million dollars through the Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational in support of Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities. Proceeds from the weekend go towards supporting over 150 charities in North Texas, including 10,000 DISD students and families through their annual back to school program. Funds are also utilized to create and fund unique educational experiences and enrichment opportunities for underserved children.



Eighth Annual MTV: REDEFINE Art Event Sizzles

By Rob Giardinelli          Photography by Bruno and Fort Lion Studio

THE SETTING: The Statler Hotel in Dallas was the setting for the eighth annual MTV RE:DEFINE Art Auction and Gala. Over 300 notable Sociables from Dallas, London and beyond were on hand for a fantastic evening of fun and fundraising.

THE STYLE: The evening began with cocktails where the rocker chic-attired crowd sipped cocktails while previewing 30 pieces of exemplary contemporary art and luxury experiences up for bid during the benefit auction. The action then moved into the ballroom for the evening’s program, which was emceed by MTV’s Rebecca Dudley. 

Highlights of the program included a live-auction helmed by world-renowned auctioneer Simon de Pury, who presided over spirited bidding of many priceless works. Among the items up for bid were two works from Marc Quinn, who was also honored during the program for his long-standing support of MTV RE:DEFINE. The program was concluded with a show-stopping performance by superstar Rita Ora. The fun continued well past midnight as partygoers danced the night away at an after party to the tunes of internationally known DJ Aeroplane who was flown in specifically for the event by after party host Giorgio of Los Angeles, capping off a magical evening that those on hand will always remember.

THE PURPOSE: The event was co-hosted by Joyce Goss and Kenny Goss, chaired by Sami Abboud, with Jonny Burt and Joe Kennedy serving as art chairs and raised over $1.6 million dollars. Proceeds from the evening will go toward HIV prevention and education through the MTV Staying Alive Foundation as well as arts education and awareness through the Goss Michael Foundation. Since it’s founding in 2011, MTV: REDEFINE has raised over $14 million dollars for these causes.



31st Annual Mad Hatter’s Tea Celebrates The Golden Age of Hollywood

By Cynthia Smoot         Photography by Danny Campbell, Dana Driensky, and Rob Wythe/Gittings Photography

THE SETTING: Mad Hatter’s Tea is one of Dallas’ most elaborate and whimsical affairs celebrating the wonder of millenary magic while supporting the Dallas Arboretum. The morning began with a champagne reception, where guests mingled about admiring the fashion prowess and imagination of others, as everyone felt like a star under the frenzy of cell phone flashes happening all about. The crowd was led into Rosine Hall for a fashion presentation produced by the inimitable Jan Strimple featuring fashions sponsored by Tootsies. The afternoon was capped off with a seated luncheon under elegantly draped tents with divine tablescapes created by Prashe Décor.

THE STYLE: The theme for this year’s celebration, The Golden Age of Hollywood, spotlighted hats celebrating all decades of fashion. One of the highlights of the event  was the announcement of the winners in a variety of style categories. This year’s hat judges included Jonathan Simkhai, Vodi Cook, Jenna Jenovich, Vivian Lombardi, and Joani White. The day’s big winners were Kunthear Mam-Douglas, Norah Maroulis, Elizabeth Smith Theis, Jenny Foster, Leslie Vaughan, Carmen Hancock, and Prashi Shah.

The PURPOSE: This year’s event was co-chaired by Sharla Bush and Terry Irby with Kristina Bush Whitcomb serving as the honorary chair. Monies raised grow and maintain A Woman’s Garden, a major garden at the Dallas Arboretum, and the only public garden in the nation conceived by women, funded by the efforts of women, and dedicated to the universal spirit of women.



Ally’s Wish Raises Funds To Grant Wishes For Terminally Ill Moms

By Cynthia Smoot          Photography by Bob Manzano

THE SETTING: The Fifth Annual Boots & Blessings gala took place at Austin Ranch to benefit Ally’s Wish. Attendees kicked off the night by perusing an extensive silent auction as TV personality Scott Murray served as emcee for the evening and gathered everyone to their seats. The program began with a rousing game of Heads or Tails with the winner receiving a pair of Dallas Cowboys football tickets. Guests then enjoyed live country-Western entertainment from The Breckenridge Band as they dined on  traditional BBQ fare.

THE STYLE: Larry and Pat Conner took to the stage to remember their daughter, Allyson Hendrickson, the inspiration for the creation of Ally’s Wish and the organization’s first wish recipient. They reminisced about her obsession with candy sprinkles and then invited each guest to take the small bottles of candy sprinkles at their place setting and dose their cupcake in memory of Allyson.

THE PURPOSE: The Flower Mound-based organization grants wishes to mothers battling terminal illnesses, so they may create lasting memories with their children and loved ones. Since its inception, Ally’s Wish has granted over a hundred wishes to mothers who’ve battled inflammatory breast cancer, Leukemia, colon cancer and other terminal illnesses. Ally’s Wish currently has 43 moms waiting to have wishes granted with new requests arriving daily.