Queen Sofia Is Coming to Houston — and This Royal Moment Is a Spanish Coup for The Bayou City
Groundbreaking Portal of Hispanic History to Have a H-Town MomentBY Shelby Hodge // 03.31.23
Phoebe Tudor, Begonia Santos, Joanne King Herring at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Kickoff event at Steak 48. (Photo by Dave Rossman)
Betty & Jess Tutor at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Kick-Off event at Steak 48 (Photo by Dave Rossman)
Mari Carmen Ramirez, Begonia Santos at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Kick-Off event at Steak 48. (Photo by Dave Rossman)
Dixie De Luca, Alicia Bryan, Elizabeth Petersen at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Kick-Off event at Steak 48. (Photo by Dave Rossman)
Mark Sullivan, Hannah McNair at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Kick-Off event at Steak 48. (Photo by Dave Rossman)
Begonia Santos, John & Ann Bookout at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Kick-Off event at Steak 48 (Photo by Dave Rossman)
Jennifer Roosth, Beau King at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Kick-Off event at Steak 48. (Photo by Dave Rossman)
Julia Olmo, Dixie De Luca, Celina Hellmund at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Kick-Off event at Steak 48. (Photo by Dave Rossman)
Lilac Guzman, Melissa Sanderfer, Maha Khan, Rachelle Ball at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Kick-Off event at Steak 48. (Photo by Dave Rossman)
Tarek Elbjeirmi, Shelby Hodge, Shafik Rifaat, Ceron, Amy Purvis at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Kick-Off event at Steak 48. (Photo by Dave Rossman)
The excitement was palpable during an intimate reception at Steak 48 when the head of the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute revealed to a VIP contingent two remarkable events that are scheduled for Houston in May, both major firsts. The New York based nonprofit will host its first gala and awards evening outside of New York City at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on May 17.
That event will be preceded the previous day by unveiling of the groundbreaking digital Portal of Hispanic History, the first time the project has been seen other than at its original introduction in Madrid.
Exciting news for many in the room, Queen Sofía — said to be quite the energetic octogenarian — will be in attendance at both events.
“We wanted to extend our message of the contributions of the Spanish speaking world to history and culture of the United States,” QSSI executive director Begonia Santos tells PaperCity. “And as you know, 44 percent of of the Houston population is hispanic. And we heard that it is true that Houston is a wonderful and generous and philanthropic city.”
The invitation-only gala to be held in the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston will honor three distinguished award recipients, who will be recognized for their efforts at building an appreciation of Spain and the Spanish-speaking world “through wisdom and humanitarianism.”
Eight-time Grammy Award winning Cuban-American singer, songwriter, author, actress and businesswoman Gloria Estefan, accompanied by her music producer, manager and husband Emilio Estefan, will be honored. The duo is credited with generating the immense popularity of crossover Latin music.
MFAH curator of Latin American Art and founding director of the International Center for the Arts of the Americas, Mari Carmen Ramírez will accept honors along with Barcelona native Ignacio Torras, Houston arts patron, restaurateur (BCN, MAD) and founder and CEO of Tricon Energy. Santos added that Torras’ restaurants will provide the Spanish-influenced meal for the evening.
Reflecting the participation of the beloved queen, the host committee for the gala is comprised of women only, a powerful clutch of female city leaders. Joanne King Herring chairs the committee that is comprised of Nancy Kinder, Anne Duncan, Phoebe Tudor, Renu Khator, Paula Gilmer DesRoches, Janice Burk, Hannah McNair and Princess Maria-Anna Galitzine, Archduchess of Austria, to name a few.
Houston native and New York resident Dixie Deluca, who serves on the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute board of trustees, will chair the gala to be attended by QSSI supporters, arts patrons, philanthropists, civic leaders and Spanish delegates. Deluca introduced the program on this night.
The digital Portal of Hispanic History will be on display beginning May 16 in the historic Julia Ideson Library.
“The Queen Sofía Spanish Institute is very proud to bring to Houston, to its community, the presentation for the first time in the Americas the Portal of Hispanic History, an amazing work done by the (Spanish) Royal Academy of History,” Santos says. “The portal is a geo-positioning of the entire history of Spain and its territories for the past 3,000 years.
“It was presented on February 28 at the Royal Palace in Madrid to King Philippe and Queen Letizia by the Royal Academy of History.
“The history of Spain, we always say, is the history of America. It is impossible to understand one without the other.”
PC Seen: Mari Carmen Ramírez, Joanne King Herring, Phoebe Tudor, Anne and John Bookout, Melissa Sandefer, Maha Khan, Lizzie Sullivan, Hannah McNair, Amy Purvis, Betty and Jess Tutor, Elizabeth Petersen, Alicia Brian, Ceron, Melissa Sandefer, Beau King, Maha Khan, Lizzie Sullivan, Libbie Masterson, Niké Luqman, and Remington Bruce.