Smithsonian Artrageous Expands With Dinner and After-Party

By McLean Robbins March 3, 2010, 12:16 PM EST

The Artrageous party in the Kogod Courtyard

Photo: Tony Brown/Imijination Photography

The fifth annual “Artrageous” benefit in the Kogod Courtyard of the Smithsonian American Art Museumon Saturday got two new additions—a sit-down dinner and presentation, as well as an after-party.

“In the past years we’ve always wanted that balance—to have a really fun party, but to also recognize our donors and have remarks,” said the museum’s special event manager, Emily Chamberlin. “When you have to stop and make everyone listen, its stops the flow of party. By adding a dinner we could thank everyone, and the party can just be a party. It presented the opportunity to have both elements.”

The distinction came at dramatically different ticket levels. The two-hour sit-down dinner and presentation drew 105 guests at $1,000 apiece, while the main party, held from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., rang in at $150 (or $120 for members) and drew an additional 320 guests. Though this years attendance was down by 5 percent, net earnings were still up, due to increased ticket prices.

The addition of an after-party at Smith Point in Georgetown came at the behest of the younger folks involved. “The museum had nothing to do with the after-party, it was all our Junior Committee,” said Chamberlin. “They said this would help them sell tickets.”

The new efforts brought at least one significant change: “A much younger crowd,” Chamberlin said. “The purpose of the event is to garner the 25- to 40-year-olds, to get them engaged so they become future patrons.” Only about a quarter of the event’s attendees appeared to be over 50, but seemed content to mingle and dance to Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” and Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” from DJ Menan.

Guests arrived at the main party to find the courtyard draped in hot pink and purple tones by A Vista Events, with spotlights casting a Vegas look upon the courtyard walls and dramatic steel-and-glass ceiling. Seating came in the form Ultrasuede sofa clusters and Chiavari chairs at small circular tables draped in pink and purple linens or modern suede sofas in the same color scheme.

Among three buffet stations from Design Cuisine Caterers was a wonton taco bar, as well as passed snacks like popcorn scallop bites and grilled cheese with ham triangles. Around 9:30 p.m., the menu switched to dessert, with trays of mocha cheesecake brownie bites, rocky road bars, and chocolate-covered strawberries taking over the tables.

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