Supporters Of Ballet San Antonio Raise Funds At Luncheon


By Jake Gaines Photography by Rance Ristau


THE SETTING:  On a recent afternoon, Ballet San Antonio hosted a fundraising luncheon at the Carlos Alvarez Theater at The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. Announced was a new partnership with Haven For Hope, a nonprofit that provides free dance classes for the children of Haven residents. Energetic and longtime supporters of Ballet San Antonio, as well as newcomers to the organization filled the room. The Ballet welcomed Daniel Jones, editor of the Modern Love column for the New York Times as the featured guest. Other speakers included Carla Brozovich, a longtime supporter of the Ballet, Sonya Medina Williams, a new supporter of the ballet and long supporter of Haven For Hope, Ballet San Antonio C.E.O. Evin Eubanks, and Karen Lee Zachry.


THE SCENE:  Haven For Hope has a current population of 120 individuals and families, which includes 300 children experiencing homelessness who will be eligible for the Learning That Moves You program beginning in September. The classes will take place on the Haven For Hope campus. Through the establishment of this new program at Haven for Hope, children staying at the center will have access to free lessons in creative movement in a safe space. There they will be able to express themselves and, in doing so, cope and heal from the trauma of homelessness. 


THE PURPOSE:  Ballet San Antonio C.E.O Evin Eubanks said the idea for the program originated with Carla Brozovich and Sonya Medina Williams, both enthusiastic supporters of the dance company and co-chairs of the winter luncheon. NuStar Energy and The Greehey Family Foundation have generously underwritten the Haven For Hope program. Ballet San Antonio is the only, and premiere, professional ballet company in San Antonio and resides at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.




McNay Art Museum Celebrates Gala With 90s Theme


By Leanne Raesener         Photography by David Sixt


THE SETTING: The McNay Art Museum’s gala, Dining With The Masters: Fashion Nirvana, recently provided over 300 of San Antonio’s notables, sociables, and arts patrons the exclusive opportunity to dine among the masterpieces. The elegant evening also offered an exclusive preview of the spring blockbuster Fashion Nirvana: Runway to Everyday. This cutting-edge exhibition, from gowns to grunge, is the first-ever major presentation devoted to the art of fashion at the McNay. Featuring over 40 garments by Escada, John Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Todd Oldham, Oscar de la Renta, Versace, and Vera Wang, to name a few, the exhibit celebrated the designers, models, artists, and celebrities who made the 90s an iconic decade.


THE STYLE: Patrons posed in front of a 90s inspired graffiti wall designed by artist Elizabeth Carrington before they made their way inside the museum as the festivities commenced. The cocktail hour was held in the venue’s courtyard where guests enjoyed a raw seafood bar and were entertained by break-dancers and DJ Sara Jessop, who played popular 90s hits.

 The dinner tables were strategically placed in the Fashion Nirvana exhibition and museum lobby. The committee did an amazing job with décor–minimal and elegant, which let talented David Garcia with Statue of Design create stunning ombre centerpieces, including clouds made entirely of baby’s breath. Don Strange of Texas treated guests to a sumptuously catered dinner of Asian inspired cuisine. During the meal, everyone showed their appreciation by funding over 140 field trips to the museum. After dinner, guests made their way to the after party for dancing led by the band Finding Friday and enjoyed 90s inspired snacks as well as a boozy inspired Capri Sun.


THE PURPOSE: Corinna and J.B. Richter chaired the event, presented by The Tobin Endowment and Frost Bank, which is the largest annual fundraiser for the museum. Proceeds from the gala benefited the McNay’s education, exhibition, and conservation programs, enabling the museum to continue its mission of engaging a diverse community in the discovery and enjoyment of the visual arts.




Melanie Vaughan’s German Club Debutante Party In San Antonio


By Jake Gaines    Photography by Greg Harrison


A German Club debutante party, Evening of Chinese Splendor, honored Melanie Vaughan’s travels to different regions of China that have inspired her over the last two years. She traveled there as part of her operatic vocal training with voice instructor, Dr. Chai Wai Lee of Trinity University. She, with other vocal students, performed at Chinese universities in different cities and provinces in China.

As Melanie had immersed herself in Chinese culture, she was drawn to having a party theme that was very near and dear to her heart. During her travels to China, she grew as a person, and as a singer, and looks forward to returning in the future. Melanie wore a floor-length red dress based upon an authentic Chinese design with a modern, elegant flair. The gown, designed by Nicolas Vilalba, was wrapped with embroidered silk gold dragons imported from Hong Kong and had a traditional Chinese neckline embellished with red and gold crystals.


Melanie and her family’s vision for the occasion were brought to life by Billinda Wilkinson and India Rhodes of Wilkinson Rhodes, who created a Chinese ambiance  for the guests. Upon arrival at the Witte Museum, guests were greeted by a magnificent 12-foot long, hand-carved dragon, looming over the entrance guarded by two massive handmade gold Foo Dogs. Red Chinese lanterns dripped from the beams of the entrance as guests approached a 12-foot-high ice carving of a Chinese pagoda flanked on either side by Chinese Warriors, inspired by the Terracotta Army guarding Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum. Surrounding the ice Pagoda were holes drilled to hold shots of
Singapore Sling cocktails for the guests’ enjoyment, while the Lemon Grass Empress martinis were passed upon entry to the venue.

Inside, the venue was transformed to convey the feeling of a drawing-room in a Chinese Palace. Tables were draped with silk tablecloths and surrounded by ornate red chairs. Flowered fans framing red lacquer bars with Melanie’s name painted in Chinese lettering were among the carved dragons and perched atop custom-designed food stations that had curved gold tile roofs inspired by the palaces. Red and white Chinese dragons were also embossed onto the dance floor to add to the distinctive décor.

The honoree’s travels also inspired the food for the evening. Steamed lobster dumplings were served on bamboo trays, and poke bowls were filled with many culinary delights to choose from  such as Asian short ribs over noodles in a jar of smoke, sweet and sour baby back ribs, and spicy meatballs, with red chopsticks provided.  Chocolate and Mochi Xiao Long Bao were served for dessert with milkshakes of ginger, green tea and mango passed for the guests’ pleasure, all of which were created by Cassandra Fine Catering.



San Antonio Public Library Foundation’s Annual Catrina Ball

By Leanne Raesener Photography by Chris Cantoya and Kelly Jo Johnson

THE SETTING: San Antonio’s Central Library, located in the heart of downtown, was transformed into a vibrant night market, complete with gourmet street food cuisine and musical entertainment to raise funds for the San Antonio Public Library Foundation (SAPLF) and the Texana/Genealogy Department. This annual black-tie affair celebrates Dias de los Muertos and raises essential operating funds to sustain the SAPLF and the San Antonio Public Library system.

THE STYLE: Guests were welcomed into the fête by Neiman Marcus models, sculptures from artist Pompa Art, the musical stylings of Mojo Rimba, a student-led marimba group playing popular songs, and dance performances by the Adelitas. Guests were treated to a feast for the eyes and their palates as they encountered delicious cuisine, musical vignettes, stilt walkers, entertainers, and tequila sipping bars that were placed throughout the library for guests to discover as they explored the beautiful space.

The afterparty, held on the second floor of the Central Library, was a fabulous end to an evening of fun and frivolity as guests danced the night away around an incredible two-story Chihuly Fiesta Tower to the music of Henry Brun and the Latin Playerz Orchestra. The event’s top donors were treated to a Neiman Marcus and Veuve Clicquot lounge.

THE PURPOSE: Ruth Agather, Magdalena Gaona, and Mari Tamez chaired the event. This event honored Andi Rodriguez as La Catrina and Guillermo Nicolás as El Catrin. This year, proceeds were also raised to provide a generous gift of additional funding to support the Central Library’s Texana/Genealogy Department and transform the entire sixth floor of the Library into a world-class Texana Resource Center. The San Antonio Public Library Foundation’s mission is to strengthen the library in service to our community.




Southwest School of Art Gala Celebrates Mumbai By Moonlight Gala Theme

By Leanne Raesener Photography by Landers Photography

THE SETTING: The San Antonio rain cleared just in time to create a magical evening for the Southwest School of Art’s Mumbai by Moonlight Gala in the Garden presented by James Avery Artisan Jewelry. The evening’s scene was set with exotic décor and colorful displays to transport guests into a faraway land of beauty, entertainment, and exquisite culinary offerings.
In the McNutt Gardens under enormous tents, patrons were greeted by beautiful table settings featuring striking centerpieces created by Trinity Flowers and Events. With the perfect combination of lighting and sound provided by JSAV, patrons enjoyed each other’s company in the beautifully decorated gardens.
THE STYLE: The dinner, provided by Club Giraud, featured delectable curried lamb masala prepared flawlessly with basmati rice and lime-cilantro prawns. Konkan apricot cheesecake with toasted almonds and mint completed the meal. Guests in the Coates Chapel were treated to a wide variety of fine art by many noted artists and galleries, including original works by students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree Program to enjoy and purchase, all benefiting the School.
Then, guests were treated to an outstanding Bharatanatyam performance by Kalalaya Indian Performing Arts and a dazzling Bollywood Fusion Dance from UTSA Sapna. After an evening of great food, fabulous friends, and top-notch entertainment, guests then moved to the Urschel Administrative Building for the Neiman Marcus Bollywood After Party. There they danced the night away to music by DJ Catwalk and delighted in a wide variety of treats presented by Neiman Marcus, the sponsor of the event’s after party since its inception in 2014.
THE PURPOSE: Courtney and Tobin Smith, Claire and Easton McNab, and Kate and Taylor Dawson co-chaired the event. The Southwest School of Art is the only independent college of art in Texas, and all proceeds from the gala benefit the operations of the organization.




Zoo Ball’s The Polar Express Rolls Into San Antonio

By Leanne Raesener           Photography by Greg Harrison

THE SETTING: Fittingly, Mother Nature provided a perfect winter cold snap for the San Antonio Zoo’s 37th Annual Zoobillation themed, The Polar Express. Dipping temperatures brought out more than 800 prominent patrons and philanthropic community leaders donning glamourous winter fashions. Brackenridge Park’s newest narrow-gauge engine was on display outside the reception tent to carry on the legacy of the San Antonio Zoo’s 1956 Eagle, and a phenomenal locomotive ice sculpture greeted the guests inside.

Before a delectable dinner, guests ambled through the zoo’s annual enchanting light displays to join a buzzing reception filled with a wealth of generously donated silent auction holiday gift opportunities. The new locomotive welcomed all into the main dining area in an outside foyer resplendent with silver and blue scenes creating a genuinely magical esplanade under a canopy of the best snow flurries one can expect in San Antonio.

THE STYLE: Inside a real star-filled night, laced silver accents were throughout the room and across all the tables. Custom passports offered guests access to their own imaginations on the express across time and into their childhoods.

The SA Zoo CEO Tim Morrow welcomed Jayme and William Russell, the event’s chairs, through the grand entrance. The Russells outlined the strides the zoo has made, where it stands, and where it is going―from the new exhibits, the Will Smith Zoo School, and Kiddie Park, to the new train engine. They also highlighted the zoo’s primary purpose, which is to educate, awe, entertain, and spotlight the exceptional leadership, business partnerships, and generous patrons building legacies for tomorrow.

Tony Parker, a Zoo board member, joined Morrow on stage to spur on dynamic live auction support with impromptu friendly banter. Guests supported the auction with seasonal generosity and all the energy of San Antonio’s very own Polar Express.

THE PURPOSE: The San Antonio Zoo, through its passion and expertise in animal care, conservation, and education, commits to inspiring its community to love, engage with, act for, and protect animals and the places they live. The zoo welcomes more than a million visitors each year and is open year-round.