Arts / Galleries

Partying Like You’re 75 — a Houston Museum’s Milestone Gala Raises Major Green In a Radiant Night With A-Listers Galore

Inside CAMH's Epic Party With Diamonds In the Sky

BY Sofia Westerman and Caitlin Hsu // 06.14.24

Art and generosity intertwined in a vibrant kaleidoscope of color at CAMH’s 75th anniversary gala. The luminous celebration was an unprecedented evening of giving that raised significant green and solidified the museum’s future.

Inspired by the CAMH’s diamond anniversary, the evening’s theme shimmered throughout the Brown Foundation Gallery. The Events Co. filled the space with iridescent, light-bending decor. Attendees followed the “Cocktail Radiant Monochrome” motif by wearing jewel tones on the purple carpet.

Co-chairs Anita and Gerald Smith and Leigh and Reggie Smith welcomed more than 300 people to a cocktail hour in the Nina and Michael Zilkha Gallery, which was filled with coveted auction treasures. Featured headliners included works by artists integral to CAMH’s history, encompassing national, international and Texas talents such as Mark Flood, Luis Jiménez, Libbie Masterson and Donald Moffett

Sage Cuenod, Payton Hudson, Kylie Carruth, Helen Crain, Phoebe Cholnoky, Adele Noel at CAMH 75th Gala (Photo by Emily Jaschke)
Sage Cuenod, Payton Hudson, Kylie Carruth, Helen Crain, Phoebe Cholnoky and Adele Noel at CAMH’s 75th Anniversary Gala. (Photo by Emily Jaschke)

Following a warm welcome from the lead singer of Houston-based band The Suffers, Kam Franklin, everyone jumped into the culinary delights. Monarch Hospitality provided a spread that included arugula burrata salad, braised beef osso buco and honey lavender cheesecake. 

After dinner, CAMH executive director Hesse McGraw delivered remarks to Houston’s art world luminaries, spotlighting memorable exhibitions of the museum’s past. McGraw also revealed this summer’s solo exhibitions, now on view: “Olivia Erlanger: If Today Were Tomorrow” and “Theaster Gates: The Gift and The Renege.”

Energized by McGraw’s inspiring vision for the CAMH’s future, the room buzzed with anticipation as the live auction commenced. Dynamic auctioneer Ruth Mason Mauldin masterfully fielded bids on nine works by artists Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Ming Smith, Anni Albers, Antony Gormley, Vincent Valdez, Trenton Doyle Hancock, David McGee, Sanford Biggers and Mary Ellen Carroll.

Stephanie Tsuru, Martha Finger at CAMH 75th Gala (Photo by Emily Jaschke)
Stephanie Tsuru and Martha Finger at CAMH’s 75th Anniversary Gala. (Photo by Emily Jaschke)

As the formal festivities wrapped, the post-gala shindig kicked into high gear. People headed to the Eleanor & Frank Freed Garden for the Diamonds in the Sky After Party. The atmosphere sparkled with tunes from The Waxholics’ DJ Big Reeks, LALO Tequila drinks and Buttah skincare in the lounges.

The CAMH’s annual fundraising evening supports exhibitions, public programs, artist residencies, art education opportunities, community outreach and free admission. This year’s celebration broke records as the highest grossing art auction in the Houston museum’s history. It raised more than $300,000 and showcased its commitment to sustainable practices, contributing to a green bottom line of $802,000.

Christa Havican, Ryan O. Harris, Sara Darro at CAMH 75th Gala (photo by Emily Jaschke)
Christa Havican, Ryan O. Harris, Sara Darro make the scene at the CAMH 75th Gala (Photo by Emily Jaschke) 

PC Seen: Host committee members including gallerist Kerry Inman and music man Denby Auble, Drs. Annette and Anthony Brissett, Jereann Chaney, Margaret and Jonathan Cox, Rice University’s Paula Gilmer DesRoches and Reggie DesRoches, Martha and Richard Finger, Johanne Beaulieu Gatto and Joe Gatto, Louise Jamail, Shawn Stephens and Jim Jordan, Mathew Knowles and Gena Knowles, gallerist Bryn Larsen, Dr. Penelope and Lester Marks (he scored live auction goodies by David McGee and Tunji Adeniyi-Jones), Catherine and George Masterson, Duyen and Marc Nguyen, Cabrina and Steven Owsley, Anjali Sharma, Kelly and Nicholas Silvers, and Phoebe and Bobby Tudor.

The aforementioned art world A-listers were joined by patrons supreme including Dillon Kyle and Sam LasseterMara and Erick Calderon, Stephanie and Jackson Smith, Holly Waltrip, Lugano Diamonds’ Denise Wynne, gallerist Barbara Davis, John Walker with son Mathis Walker, Adisun Buckley, Shane Smith, Carrie and Sverre Brandsberg-Dahl, Siggi and Martellus Bennett, Cece and Mack Fowler, Leslie and Brad Bucher, Mary and Dr. Bernardino Arocha, Sean Roberts, Amy and Blair Garrou and John Roberts.

Leading the cool late-night vibe were After Party Committee members Steve Buechner, Sydney Dao, Joshua Ibarra, Georgeos Kazilas, Angelica Radacinski, Jordan Smith and Jessica and Ricardo Sutherland.

Additional reporting from Catherine D. Anspon.

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