Best of 2011: the 5 Most Inspiring Cultural Events

December 13, 2011, 8:30 AM EST

Photo: Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Five event pros share the most influential artistic endeavors they experienced this year.

The “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute attracted more than 661,509 visitors in 90 days, causing the museum to extend its viewing hours due to popular demand. I see this exhibit’s success as an analogy to clients and attendees craving smart, engaging, and multidimensional events based on creativity, and a willingness to pay and stand in line for the right concept.
—Jason Wanderer, founder, Precision Events, Los Angeles

I loved Sleep No More, Punchdrunk’s take on Macbeth playing in New York. Defying literal interpretation to create a six-floor, period-based scenic world of performance—while allowing the audience to interact and explore— is innovation meeting art in its truest form. Clients have asked me for Sleep No More-like experiences more than anything else.
—Kelly Markus, executive producer, Markus Daly Ryan,  New York

The Tim Burton exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was one of the most intoxicating and visually stimulating experiences I have had in a long time. Lacma presented a major retrospective exploring the full range of Burton’s creative work. He is an inspiration and creative genius—his art can be embraced by all kinds of individuals. There is always beauty and a hero in such dark, obscure, and unusual pieces.
—Lisa Jammal, publicist and event producer, LJAM PR, Los Angeles

I went to the Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts and was amazed by the organic nature of what glass could do. Color was the most amazing part. I went back to the office and started to think about what we could do with color, from lime green to purple.
—Franny Andahazy, C.E.O. and creative director, PBD Events, Boston

What started out as an offbeat, all-night arts festival, Nuit Blanche has become a mainstream experience embraced by Torontonians from all walks of life. Its combination of performance art and technology is inspiring exciting ways to create experiences at events. AV is becoming art.
—Grail Noble, president, Yellow House Events, Toronto

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