I.C.A. Hosts Gala in Raw Space, Adds an After-Party

By Erica Corsano May 11, 2010, 12:57 PM EDT

The I.C.A. gala celebration and Party on the Harbor

Photo: Aviran Levy Photography for BizBash

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The Institute of Contemporary Art hosted its annual spring fund-raising event on Friday night, this year attracting larger crowds with the first-ever after-party, dubbed “Party on the Harbor.” The evening kicked off with the “A Gala Celebration” cocktail party and dinner in the adjacent new One Marina Park building in Fan Pier.

“There’s a brand-new format this year. We have the dinner for our sponsor-level supporters and then a big after-party back at the museum,” said Susie Allen, the museum’s director of special events. “We wanted to liven up the night. And not everyone could come to the dinner, and it was a nice way to let people come and not invest in a major ticket price.”

Using green Astroturf, fake hedging, and glowing plastic bars, PBD Events transformed the 13th floor of the Marina Park Building from a raw concrete and glass shell. Custom, industrial-looking light bulb chandeliers and mirrored tables contrasted with wooden tabletops and tropical flowers to create an organic-meets-contemporary vibe.

Inspired by the current Dr. Lakra exhibition at the museum, servers donned black T-shirts with pink tattoo designs by the artist and guests received adhesive temporary tattoos of their choice. The artist also tattooed a Goyard handbag, which was the only item auctioned off at dinner. Guests also enjoyed a performance by the Boston Latin School Step Squad.

Max Ultimate Food provided a martini juice bar, passed hors d'oeuvres (served on green trays with live video screens playing footage of I.C.A. teen programs), a two-course meal, and an old-fashioned ice cream truck that served assorted frozen treats outside.

The 430 dinner guests were guided by large arrows formed from white fluorescent lights to walk across the boardwalk to the I.C.A. to join 300 additional guests at the after-party. Packed with entertainment and special activities, the fete included henna tattoo stations and a photo booth that projected the images it took around the building. Local band Endway provided live music for a second-floor dessert lounge supplied by Wolfgang Puck Catering.

Downstairs, I.C.A. supporters danced to the beat of DJ Ruckus and were offered I.C.A. branded flip-flops for their sore feet at the end of the evening.

The $800,000 in proceeds from the event will support all museum operations, including the organization’s educational programs. “I think, with an art museum, people forget that a lot of the work we really do is actually about education and programming,” Allen said. “We wanted to remind all our gala guests that a very large part of the I.C.A.’s budget that we raise tonight goes to educating these kids who don’t really have art education in their school systems in Boston anymore.”

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