Washington's Corcoran Ball Boosts Ticket Sales, Highlights Americana Design

Rumors swirled about the future of the event after a well-publicized merger, but it returned with more guest and a higher ticket price, plus variations on an Americana theme.

By D. Channing Muller April 29, 2014, 7:45 AM EDT

While not every room had an overwhelming Americana theme, each nodded to it. One first-floor gallery had blue napkins and chair cushions.

Photo: Tony Brown/ for BizBash

59th Annual Corcoran Ball
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The Women’s Committee for the Corcoran Gallery of Art once again hosted its annual ball on Friday night—an event that some wondered would continue after news broke in February that the then-floundering gallery and Corcoran School of Art an Design would merge with the National Gallery and George Washington University. Rumors swirled about what the move would mean for the ball itself. The result? Ticket sales increased to 780, up from 730 in 2013.

“All press is good press, and since our name has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue, I think it generated a lot of good for the ball,” said director of special events Carrie Wosicki.

Another potential obstacle the event overcame: increased ticket prices. The women’s committee chose to raise the regular and patron tiers of ticket prices by $100 to $600 and $850, respectively. The benefactor level remained consistent at $1,500. The decision came after members surveyed prices at comparable events around the city and found them nearly double those at the ball, according to committee chairwoman Molly Rolandi. Combined with donations from nearly 35 corporate sponsors, plus 250 tickets sold to Club Corcoran—the sold-out, after-party ticketed separately for younger patrons—Rolandi said she expects the event to raise close to its $600,000 goal, $100,000 more than last year.

As a beneficiary, the committee chose Corcoran Access, a multiyear project to make the gallery’s works accessible online.

Event designers Jack Lucky of Jack H. Lucky Floral Design, Eric Michael from Occasions Caterers, and Peter Grazzini of Perfect Settings worked together once again to decorate the tables in the 15 galleries throughout the Corcoran. The team took inspiration from founder William Wilson Corcoran’s motto for the gallery: “Encouraging American Genius.” Here’s a look at how the team used Americana elements in each space.

Correction: The number of tickets sold to Club Corcoran has been updated. 

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