Corcoran Ball Attracts Younger Patrons, Focuses Design on Color

By D. Channing Muller April 23, 2012, 4:36 PM EDT

The bright colors of the "NEXT at the Corcoran" exhibit, which showcases the works of graduating seniors at he College of Art and Design, inspired the tables on the second-floor bridge just outside the gallery.

Photo: Tony Brown/

57th Annual Corcoran Ball
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The Corcoran Gallery of Art hosted 800 people on Friday night for its annual black-tie ball, which raises money to support the scholarships for its College of Art and Design and outreach programs in the community. The Women’s Committee, led by ball chair Deborah de Gorter, put extra emphasis on its second annual Club Corcoran promotion—a $150 after-party ticket compared with $500 for the ball—in an effort to attract a younger demographic to the event.

“I think the future of any institution is to cultivate a younger generation to support it,” de Gorter said. “The students [at the College of Art and Design] want to support the Corcoran and the Club Corcoran concept give them that opportunity.”

Club Corcoran started at 10 p.m. in a lounge space created in one of the upstairs galleries of the venue and attracted 82 guests this year, compared with just 20 last year. Eric Michael of Occasions Caterers and Jack Lucky of Jack H. Lucky Floral Designs designed the space to look like an old-fashioned living room with gray sofas and club chairs, dark wood tables, and centerpieces of purple and pink roses to add color. The Phil McCusker Orchestra served as the house band for the night playing up-tempo music for late-night dancing, while the Radio King Orchestra performed on the main floor of the museum.

Michael and Lucky designed the gala this year for the 12th and 16th time, respectively, focusing on color and diversity among the galleries. “The honorary chair is the French ambassador, so we started out with a vague notion of 'new France' for two to three galleries,” Michael said. “Beyond that we try to make sure that each gallery has a pretty stark contrast to the room next to it.” Much of the inspiration for the decor came from the artwork in the respective galleries.

The ball brought in more than $300,000 in corporate sponsorships this year, exceeding its $250,000 fund-raising goal. Top sponsors included Altria Group, Oshkosh Corporation, and PNC.

Correction: The description of the bands has been amended to reflect the correct location of each.

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