Marita Fairbanks transformed into a Willy Wonka homage with a delicious-looking headpiece at 2015's Gumball Gala. (Photo Morris Malakoff)
J.B. & Marita Fairbanks party at the 2017 Cine Ball Gala. (Photo Morris Malakoff)
Two homages to Roy Lichtenstein sandwich Marita Fairbanks, in a stellar Vincent Van Gogh ensemble, at 2016's Paint Ball Gala. (Photo Morris Malakof)f
A gum ball machine, Willy Wonka, and a watermelon, make for a the perfect smorgasbord at the Gumball Gala, 2015. (Photo Morris Malakoff)
Fairbanks shines with a futuristic gold costume with Rainey Knudson and Art Guy Michael Galbreth at the Space Ball Gala, 2014.
Wedding reception ready at the Ball n' Chain Gala, 2013. (Photo Anthony Rathbun)
Stewart Dallas & Fresh Arts executive director Marci Dallas at Fresh Arts Cine Ball 2017 (Photo Emily Jaschke for Morris Malakoff)
Catherine D. Anspon, Jeff Shell at Fresh Arts Cine Ball (Photo Emily Jaschke for Morris Malakoff Photography)
Michael Bise, Rainey Knudson at Fresh Arts Cine Ball (Photo Emily Jaschke for Morris Malakoff) Photography
Always one of the most electric and buzz-worthy events on the social calendar, the Fresh Arts Gala has tapped into a contagious optimism for next year’s theme. Dubbed The Crystal Ball Gala, the soiree emphasizes the desire of many, following Hurricane Harvey, to look forward to the future with hopeful eyes.
The rollicking celebration annually provides funding for artists-centric initiatives that enhance the community and, in February 2018, will address recovery assistance for Texas artists and nonprofits impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Fresh Arts mission is to engage the Houston public by providing exhibitions, programs and development workshops for artists. Events like the Winter Holiday Market (WHAM!) have raised more than $1 million dollars for artists, while the Cultured Cocktails program, hosted by Boheme Café & Wine Bar, has generated more than $100,000 for artists and art organizations.
The gala themes are an open-ended — and often very raucous — suggestions to inspire its guests. Previous highly memorable themes have included Cine Ball, the Paint Ball, the Willy Wonka-inspired Gum Ball, the Space Ball referencing Space Invaders, the cheesy Cheese Ball with is costume highlight J.B. Fairbanks as a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader, and The Ball ‘n Chain, a cheeky nod to marriage. Imaginative cosplay, outlandish attire, and bizarre characters make for an eccentric night. And at least one couple who met at a Fresh Arts Gala have walked down the aisle, case in point, Claudia Solis and Matthew Wettergreen.
An array of indulgent entrees, art auction collectibles, live music, and dancing round out the night for cleverly costumed patrons. Meanwhile, calendar this date, and prepare your ensembles soon:
What: Fresh Arts Crystal Ball Gala
When: February 2, 2018
Who: Chairs Stephanie and Ernie Cockrell, Raquel and Andrew Segal, and Katie and A.J. Brass; honoree Fresh Arts Coalition founder and board member, honoree Marita Fairbanks
Where: Silver Street Studios, 2000 Edwards
Tariff: Check back in December for ticket prices and to secure your pass to the Crystal Ball. Or become an underwriter, beginning at $600. (Note: Fresh Arts members receive 50 percent discount on Crystal Ball tickets.)