Phillips Gala Attendance Spikes, Requires New Layout

By D. Channing Muller May 7, 2012, 3:39 PM EDT

A gallery with a more contemporary design had illuminated tables and all-white chairs with sparsely populated centerpieces of orange, white, and yellow flowers.

Photo: Tony Brown/

91st Annual Phillips Gala
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The Phillips Collection’s annual gala grew in attendance for its 91st year, from 370 to more than 430 people, requiring a new layout for the seating in each of the galleries for the dinner portion of the evening. The museum’s director of special events, Keith Costas, credits the increase to the 10 additional sponsors, bringing the total to 45 this year.

“There has been a lot of interest on the part of our supporters and corporate interest in buying tables as well as additional individual tickets,” said Costas, who added that the gala exceeded its fund-raising goal of $550,000.

With dinner taking place in each of the museum's galleries, Costas changed the size and arrangement of the tables to accommodate the extra guests. Jack H. Lucky Floral Design Inc. and Occasions Caterers created a different look in each room inspired by the art on display—from contemporary designs with LED lighting and acrylic furnishings to more traditional rooms with a single table for 20 and chiavari chairs with cushions.

Following dinner, nearly 100 additional guests came to at the museum’s Anderson House across the street for the Havana Nights-theme after-party. Organizers chose the Havana theme in honor of the upcoming 11th Havana Arts Biennial later this month in Cuba and the museum’s patron trips to the country. Occasions set up buffets of Cuban savory and sweet items like plantain chips, ceviche, empanadas, cocktail arroz con leche, coffee parfaits, and more.

A cigar roller in the back lawn, large palm trees and fronts, and yellow and amber lighting from AMPA Events completed the Havana-nightclub ambiance. Latin band Sin Miedo performed salsa and meringue music until midnight.

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