Witte Museum Hosts 52nd Annual Witte Game Dinner

By Jake Gaines Photography by Trisha Lindsey Photography and Parish Photography

THE SETTING: More than 850 of San Antonio’s community leaders and philanthropists, dressed in their finest western attire, gathered to enthusiastically support the Witte Museum at the 52nd Annual Witte Game Dinner, presented by Embrey. The event’s theme, A Prickly Pear Affair, reflected a bountiful return, represented by the sumptuous pear of the cactus, from the prickly period of the pandemic. And it was a bountiful evening indeed, with an abundance of delicious South Texas game cuisine by The RK Group, cocktails, and spirited conversation.

THE STYLE: Attendees entered through the Valero Great Hall at the Witte Museum, adorned with cacti and bathed in hues of pink and green, where they had photos taken and socialized with friends during a cocktail hour that filled the museum campus. As they sipped on prickly pear margaritas, available throughout the galleries, the attendees re-connected with friends and enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres and the famous Gordita stations to whet their appetites for what was to come.

The celebration continued to the Mays Family Center for the main event. Susan Naylor, The Feik Family Foundation, and SWBC were honored with Texas Heritage awards for their transformational support of the Witte Museum and visionary leadership in the city and across the state of Texas, as attendees enjoyed a multi-course meal including chicken fried quail, venison enchiladas and bison sliders. A robust live auction followed, with guests enthusiastically bidding before Cory Morrow provided the live music as the event’s revelry continued into the night.

THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Margaret and Ryan Pape and supported by a superstar committee, is the Witte Museum’s largest annual fundraiser, providing funding for the museum’s education programs, operations and exhibitions. SWBC announced a significant gift to underwrite the Land Stewardship Ambassador program, and other funds raised will support the Witte’s efforts to care for irreplaceable collections, advance new research and help ensure nearly 350,000 school-aged children and their families can experience all the museum has to offer, both in person and remotely.



Chrysanthemum Ball Celebrates With 67th Gala

By Alexandra Del Lago Photography by Jenna Beth Lyde

THE SETTING: The Charity Ball Association of San Antonio celebrated its 67th Chrysanthemum Ball at the Witte Museum. The evening was inspired by the idea of a Tuscan Italian evening by President Lee Anne Hendry. It was designed by Danny Cuellar of Trinity Flowers and Decorations Vice President Elizabeth Roberts. Guests were greeted by large ornate wrought iron candelabras lavishly ornamented in lemon leaves, and a beautiful Italian fountain adorned with a profusion of orchids and chrysanthemums, assorted greenery, and topped with a pyramid of lemons. The guests were offered Limoncello martinis and spritzers, roasted grape and goat cheese bruschetta, mozzarella, smoked chicken arancini, and vegetable stromboli roulades, all while enjoying cocktails in the garden and admiring the Gold Prize Jaguar generously donated by Cavender Jaguar Land Rover.


THE STYLE: As the guests entered the Mays Family Center, they were delighted by the beautiful décor.  Large trees sat upon the dining tables and were decorated with bright yellow lemons, lemon leaves, and sparkling lighting. At the tree bases were arrangements of white cymbidium orchids, yellow and citrine-colored chrysanthemums, yellow roses, and assorted greenery. The tables were adorned with green malachite-patterned tablecloths accented with varying height tapered candles and accompanied by gold Chivari chairs. The ceiling was covered in beautiful lemon leaf greenery accented with ambient lighting. 


Stephen Cavender, this year’s emcee, welcomed everyone and introduced Lee Anne Hendry, the organization’s president. Kim Peacock, the vice president of prizes, orchestrated the many prize drawings and giveaways as the guests enjoyed a fabulous dinner of Duo Caprese Ensalata, Tenderloin Rosa de Parma, and Amalfi Lemon Delight by The RK Group. A night of dancing followed with music from Blind Date of Austin.


THE PURPOSE: The evening celebrated the $1,200,000 raised for the many grants given to the children of Bexar County. With Patrons Vice President Anna-Laura Block at the helm, The Charity Ball Association celebrated their wonderful patrons, including the Diamond Chrysanthemum Patrons: The Charity Ball Legacy Foundation, Kittie Nelson Ferguson Foundation, Mays Family Foundation, and Mary West and Richard Traylor. The CBA has given over $25 million to the children of Bexar County since 1954.



Darlene’s Vision Fun & Games Luncheon Benefitting Children In Need

By Jake Gaines Photography by Jenna Beth Lyde

THE SETTING: The San Antonio Country Club was recently the setting for the 3rd annual Darlene’s Vision Fun & Games luncheon benefitting children in need in the San Antonio community. Over 200 guests arrived at the festive event to play games such as the cakewalk, bean bag toss, and trivia, as well as to socialize among the floral décor accents of yellow roses and desert blooms.

THE STYLE: Darlene Dorsey was an adoring preschool educator, accomplished businesswoman, encouraging mother, loving grandmother, and adoring great grandmother. It was this preschool teacher’s immense love of children and helping those in need that founder, Carroll Dorsey Walker created a nonprofit entity to keep her mother’s legacy alive. The event’s raffle and silent auction items also helped fund the organization.

THE PURPOSE: The event’s proceeds help children with a toy drive throughout the year at the Women & Children’s Center, Easter egg hunts for children with disabilities, and funding for a special camp for children with cancer. The mission is to honor the memory of Darlene Dorsey by continuing the heartfelt kindness and generosity she showed to children. Dorsey believed our communities are strengthened when children’s lives are enriched in a safe, engaging environment. 



Artpace San Antonio Hosts Annual Artful Gala

By Jake Gaines       Photography by Francisco Cortes, courtesy of Artpace San Antonio

THE SETTING:  This year’s Artpace event, The Happening, was held at the Red Berry Estate. It began with a special cocktail reception in the mansion’s ballroom that featured a champagne bar sponsored by Neiman Marcus. Guests then proceeded to the lakeside ballroom for a stunning three course meal, highlighting real time, upscale cooking.

THE STYLE: After dinner, Riley Robinson, Director of Artpace San Antonio, introduced artist Teresita Fernández, one of the evening’s honorees. Fernández spoke of her artistic practice and the essential role Artpace’s International Artist-in-Residence program played in her career, and the 267 artists since. The program closed with the board chair, Patricia Ruiz-Healy, celebrating honoree Rick Liberto’s long standing leadership role at Artpace. The audience welcomed Liberto to the stage with a lengthy standing ovation.

The party then moved to a lakeside lounge, which featured Artpace 2017 Resident Artist, Robert Hodge, and DJing by OG IB (Ingrid Burley). Afterwards, the evening continued into the night at Red Berry’s famed casino. The RK Group provided the cuisine and Statue of Design created the floral décor. Blue House Design orchestrated the event’s production.

THE PURPOSE: Caroline Harte Staudt and Sarah Harte co-chaired the event. Artpace San Antonio is a nonprofit residency program, which supports Texas, national, and international artists in the creation of new art. As a catalyst for artistic expression, they engage local communities with global art practices and experiences. A successful annual gala is essential to sustain its free and dynamic programs. All proceeds benefit the organization’s residencies and public and educational programming.



San Antonio Botanical Garden Celebrates With 15th Annual Gala

By Jake Gaines Photography by Greg Harrison

THE SETTING: Recently, over 600 guests attended the 15th Annual Splendor in the Garden gala at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Guests were greeted with refreshments, including the signature cocktail, a classic Sazerac, and champagne en route to The Betty Kelso Center. Adorned in dreamy floral print frocks and garden cocktail attire, everyone then progressed through the west doors to view a lush landscape, themed after the roots of the venue in the community.

THE STYLE: After posing for photos with living wall backdrops, walking trees, and a Mother Earth stilt walker, guests enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres by Jason Dady Catering and Events and music by the Michael Alanis Band. As the sun set, guests made their way to Greehey Lawn for a decadent dinner. The vichyssoise was a refreshing first course, followed by welcoming remarks by the President of the Garden’s Board of Directors, Omar Akhil, and Mayor Ron Nirenberg. CEO Sabina Carr presented an extensive array of children’s programming available at the Garden. She introduced the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, Rick Shaw, who led an exciting flurry of fundraising with a paddle raise that quickly climbed to six figures in funding for the organization. Guests enjoyed dinner that featured an artfully plated red wine braised beef short rib and petite crab cake atop parsnip puree, blackberry bordelaise, and a duo of mushrooms and mustard frills that mimicked a forest floor. The sweet ending was Chef Dady’s Mississippi Mud Pie. The tunes of DJ Catwalk attracted guests back into The Betty Kelso Center for dancing and late-night tacos.

THE PURPOSE: Cally and Will Kothmann, with a dedicated steering committee, chaired this year’s gala. Proceeds from the event benefit children’s programming and operations at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Its mission is to enrich lives through plants and nature by offering over 600 programs and welcoming over 368,000 visitors annually. The Greehey Family Foundation and the Mays Family Foundation were recognized for their long-standing support, as well as the gala table sponsors, underwriters, contributors, and guests making this year’s 15th Annual Gala the most successful fundraising event in the organization’s 42-year history.



The Texas Biomedical Forum Celebrates With Annual Gala


By Jake Gaines      Photography by Katie Clementson of Billo Smith Photography

THE SCENE: Nearly 500 guests attended The Texas Biomedical Forum’s 51st annual gala, The Enchantment of Spring, at The Argyle. A harpist played to welcome guests into the party as hors d’oeuvres and chilled towels were passed on silver trays to offset the heat, as guests made their way to the nearest bars for refreshments.  


THE STYLE: A shining star of the evening was the Ribbon Pull, an interactive and fundraising concept that was conceptualized by the gala team. Guests purchased the chance to pull a satin ribbon hanging from a beautiful tree to reveal a prize. The grand prize of the Ribbon Pull was a pair of diamond earrings donated by Kelly Wade Jewelers. Guests also perused and purchased tickets for the raffle packages.  


Guests then enjoyed a seated dinner that featured a decadent menu prepared by The Argyle, celebrating the abundance and gifts of springtime. Dinner began with a spring pea soup with cranberry coulis, followed by a salad duo of quinoa and chickpeas and a cucumber wrap bouquet. Next was the entrée consisting of a Pepper Bomb New York Strip with Béarnaise sauce, pesto potatoes, green bean and carrot vegetable bundle, and tomato provençal. The dessert of a lemon blueberry mascarpone dome with gold leaf capped off the delicious meal. Then, the Drywater Band entertained guests at the after party in the gorgeously appointed tent while Maverick Bourbon whiskey poured tastings at a table on the lawn. Additionally, three artists from Vogue Vignette of Austin were on-site sketching portraits of couples. Barbara Shorts, Verve Event Planning’s founding president, helped coordinate the gala’s festivities.


THE PURPOSE: Rebecca Nathan was this year’s gala chair, with Audra Kerr serving as co-chair and Amelita Mauzé as this year’s Forum’s president. The purpose of the Texas Biomedical Forum is to support the Texas Biomedical Research Institute through community relations, volunteer services, and fundraising. This funding has allowed researchers to apply for additional grant monies in excess of $75 million in subsequent awards for large-scale research projects, which equates to approximately twenty-three dollars in return for every dollar of Forum grants. The gala team is incredibly grateful to Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry for kindly donating all the crystal party favors that were hand-delivered by the gala team to every attendee in the days leading up to the event.