Society / The Seen

Houston’s Biggest Art Power Players Go Costume Crazy

One of the City’s Wildest Nights

BY Matthew Ramirez & Catherine D. Anspon // 02.21.18
photography Lizette Belen Soto. Additional photography Morris Malakoff.

What: The Crystal Ball Gala Benefitting Fresh Arts

Where: Silver Street Studios

PC Moment: With everyone in rainbow-colored outfits and imaginative get-ups, Houston’s Fresh Arts Gala lived up to its own hype and mythology at this year’s Crystal Ball. The big night was co-chaired by three couples with social swagger — Katie and A.J. Brass, Stephanie and Ernie Cockrell, and Raquel and Andrew Segal. Honoring Fresh Arts founder and patroness Marita Fairbanks, the Crystal Ball gave supporters the opportunity to riff on the night’s theme however they chose.

Glasstire’s Rainey Knudson donned a Magic 8-Ball-inspired gown, while others went shiny (with lustrous dinner jackets and dresses), glitzy (blingy masks, tiaras, and accessories were a trend), or covered in head-to-toe in crystals (calling to mind Maison Margiela’s iconic crystal masks). Amid the flashy fashions donned by the guests was a silent art auction, fortune telling from Next Iteration Theatre, sounds from the Day For Night-anointed DJ Hiram, and a bar featuring Deep Eddy Vodka and Raquel and Andrew Segal’s own Sequester Wines, among the libations.

Others contributing to the Pop vibe included Candylicious, which stood out for its artfully curated candy bar, and the always-popular Shutterbooth.

Who: Fresh Arts types including director Marci Dallas, and board members president Jared LeBlanc, Dominic Sung (with wife Patricia), Michael Umansky (with wife Laura), brother of the honoree James Bell, and street artist Gonzo 247; Houston Arts Alliance CEO John Abodeely; artists Daniel Elliott, Angela Fabbri, and John Whaley, who each painted canvases live and on the spot to be auctioned (Fabbri’s painting, One Piece of Advice, was snapped up by co-chair Raquel Segal); costume designer Kasi Kubiak, who once again fashioned an elaborate, resplendent dress for Miz Fairbanks, as well as her own opulent headdress, mask, and ballgown.

Others in the party flock: John and Becca Cason Thrash; Art Guy Michael Galbreth; Tootsies’ Fady Armanious with Boulevard Realty honcho Bill Baldwin; designer David Peck; Neal Hamil’s Ally Shell and Jeff Shell (their firm provided the night’s models who sported past Fresh Arts ensembles worn by the honoree); gallerist Laura Rathe, as a psychedelic gypsy complete with crystal ball; talents donating to the live auction including Reagan Corbett and Casey Arguelles Gregory and husband Tommy Gregory (who’s head of all public art for the Houston Airport System); artist Hannah Bull; Lucinda and Javier LoyaMartha Finger; designer Claire Drennan; dressed as a big carrot; Strut blog’s Dick Clarke and Omar LisandroThe Menil Collection‘s Tommy Napier; and HSPVA’s Matthew Jamison.

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