Phillips Gala Expands Footprint for 90th Anniversary, Showcases App

By D. Channing Muller May 18, 2011, 1:44 PM EDT

Photo: Tony Bro

The Phillips Collection celebrated its 90th anniversary on Friday night with a bigger-than-usual ball, in terms of both attendance and the overall event footprint. Split into two parts—a dinner and an after-party—the event used one more of the museum’s 12 galleries than usual to host the sold-out dinner, and the nearby Anderson House for after-hours.

“[The expansion] is exciting for us because it gives us an opportunity to use the space and dine among more contemporary works of art,” said Keith Costas, director of special events for the Phillips Collection.

The event attracted 400 people for dinner, about 50 more than last year, which Costas attributes to the significance of the collection’s anniversary. Each gallery hosted a different number of people with various table arrangements and decor. iPods and iPads at each table, a common element among the spaces, showcased a slide show of information about the event, the museum, and artist Linn Meyers's educational programs via the Phillips Collection app.

“The app is something we already have for iPhone and other devices, but many of our donors are not familiar with it, so we thought this would be a great way to show them and use technology to showcase the Phillips on our 90th anniversary,” Costas said.
After dinner, guests headed to the collection’s Anderson House property down the street to join the 150 revelers who'd purchased a $100 ticket for the 1920s-themed after-party, a nod to the collection's founding decade. The Glenn Pearson Orchestra, and later DJ Bluebrain, along with fedoras and long pearl necklaces on cocktail tables, helped guests get in the mood of the era until the party wrapped up at midnight.

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