Landa Gardens Conservancy Celebrates 13th Anniversary Event

By Jake Gaines         Photography by Jenna Beth Lyde

THE SETTING: Circumstances this year prohibited the traditional Landa Nights soiree in the gardens under a starry sky. Instead, guests were invited to celebrate in a safe and down-to earth way–with a gala to go.  Most patrons choose to celebrate at home, while others set up their dinner parties on rooftops overlooking the city or even at Landa Gardens, where the festivities were originally scheduled to take place.


THE STYLE: This year’s event, aptly named Landa Nights: Down to Earth, allowed supporters to celebrate in the way they felt most comfortable during the pandemic. More than 200 people participated in the evening through Landa Nights sponsorship packages, which included custom, three-course meals cooked-to-order by favorite local restaurant, Outlaw Kitchens. Several Landa Nights patrons were surprised with an outdoor musical performance by Brad Normandeau, a Sinatra-style crooner who delighted guests and added an old-Hollywood ambiance to the festivities.


THE PURPOSE: Rebecca Nathan, a Landa Gardens Conservancy board member, chaired the sold-out event that was extended an extra two evenings due to high demand. The Landa Gardens Conservancy is a non-profit organization dedicated to beautifying Landa Gardens and the five landscaped acres surrounding Landa Library, a branch of the San Antonio Public Library. It is a treasured neighborhood gem that offers enjoyment for all ages with playground structures, walking paths, over 7,000 plants, lush and native landscaping, mature tree varieties, and the cherished Valero Pavilion, a sculptured canopy created by renowned local artist, Carlos Cortés.


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San Antonio Gardenia Club Luncheon Celebrates With Oscars® Theme


By Jake Gaines       Photography by Greg Harrison

THE SETTING: Pre-COVID-19, Red Carpet At The Oscars served as the fashionable theme that inspired a recent event to support the San Antonio Gardenia Club. The fundraising luncheon and style show featured Julian Gold models in fashions they paraded down the catwalk, inspiring the guests for their future stylish looks.

THE STYLE: The San Antonio Country Club was the setting for the event, where guests were transported back to a time of Old Hollywood glamour amongst extraordinary floral decorations befitting the organization’s name. The luncheon attendees walked the red carpet surrounded by golden Oscar® statuettes, while being entertained by the likes of vintage celebrity impersonators such as Marilyn Monroe, amongst others. Upon entering the venue, they merrily toasted one another with champagne and popcorn. Then, the film-worthy song and dance routine by Melissa Gonzalez dazzled, as she channeled her inner Judy Garland, while being serenaded by students from the Woodlawn Theatre Academy captivated all in attendance.

THE PURPOSE: The proceeds of the annual fundraiser raises funds for local fine arts students. This year’s annual luncheon was chaired by Sharron Batchelor and Christy Tidwell, with Carroll Dorsey Walker serving as the president of the organization. The San Antonio Gardenia Club was founded in 1960, with the mission of providing fine arts scholarships to deserving students who graduate from Bexar County high schools, enabling young scholars to continue their education at local colleges. The club also participates in the annual Battle of Flowers Texas Cavalier River Parade, the Annual Holiday River Parade, and the King William Parade.

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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.


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AugustHeart Hosts A Night Of Music Gala

By Jake Gaines  –  Photography by Paul Overstreet


THE SETTING: The Pearl Stable was the setting for the ninth annual AugustHeart fall gala with the theme of A Night of Texas Music to Save a Life. The evening began with open bar libations and fabulous food stations catered by Don Strange of Texas. A host of live auction items tempted the guests  such as suite game tickets to a San Antonio Spurs game, a four-night romantic get-away to the Rosewood Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and an autographed guitar by Radney Foster, Bruce Robison, and Kelly Willis.

THE STYLE: The evening full of song featured Gabe Garcia, a singer songwriter from Lytle, Texas who competed on NBC’s Nashville Star. Then, Radney Foster and friends, featuring Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, with special guest William Beckmann, took to the stage for more entertainment. Radney, an American country music singer-songwriter, musician and music producer has been telling stories for over 35 years. In fact, his songs have reached over 50 million people, through his own hits and those he’s written for others. Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis are each renowned for crafting some of the most enduring music on the vast country and Americana landscape.

THE PURPOSE: Bart Koontz serves as the organization’s president, J. Lance Lahourcade serves as its vice president and Travis B. Gilbert, Jr. is the secretary and treasurer. The mission of AugustHeart is to provide free heart screenings to teenagers to identify selected heart abnormalities in an effort to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death.


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San Antonio Museum of Art Celebrates Superhero Theme

By Jake Gaines  –  Photography by Greg Harrison and Straughan Photography


THE SETTING: Was it a bird? Was it a plane? Was it a superhero? Close. The San Antonio Museum of Art’s Super Art Museum Ball celebrated with a superhero-themed evening. Judge Nelson Wolff served as the emcee and Katie Luber, the Kelso Director of SAMA, welcomed those in attendance for their presence and support.

THE STYLE: The event came alive with pops of primary colors that reflected the animated icons of pop culture. The St. Anthony Hotel was resplendent as a superhero’s lair, thanks to the team at Wilkinson-Rhodes. The Batmobile, from the 1960s hit television show, greeted guests upon arrival, as did four local artists painting a 60-foot mural.

 The gala’s tables were adorned with arrangements of flowers, kryptonite, and sparkling tablecloths. Neon fans, which lit the room in bright colors, lined the balcony for an added flair to the occasion. Guests were entertained by Duo Transcend and they danced the night away to the music of the Jordan Kahn Orchestra.

THE PURPOSE: The gala event chair, SAMA board member, Jenny Schimpff, and Martin Phipps, the steering committee chair teamed up to lead the event. Funds were raised to support operations, programs, and the collection of the San Antonio Museum of Art, which takes visitors around the world and through five thousand years of art in a complex of buildings that once housed the Lone Star Brewery. Lead sponsors of the Ball were SAMA board president Marie Halff, Phipps Deacon Purnell, PLLC,  the Betty Stieren Kelso Foundation, and Elizabeth and Barry Roberts.


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