Art Institute creates "Masterpiece" for 2017 gala

The Art Institute of Chicago transformed the museum’s Modern Wing, its galleries of early American Art and the Chase Promenade in Millennium Park to welcome more than 400 guests to a most elegant black-tie gala on May 6 – Masterpiece17. With the support of the Board of Trustees and Woman’s Board, gala co-chairs Meredith Bluhm-Wolf and Jay Krehbiel worked with honorary co-chairs Shirley and Patrick Ryan and 23 families on the Host Committee to creatively re-imagine the gala and raise over $3 million!

Drawing a connection to the Art Institute’s first Masterpiece Ball in 1952 and the museum’s inspiration of the classic board game “Masterpiece,” the gala’s name aspired to capture the excitement and energy of the museum’s civic identity and mission.

Guests arrived on Saturday evening to find the Modern Wing’s Griffin Court impressively up-lit in shades of blue and violet with touches of gold. Arrangements of white hyacinths lent chic accents to the festive setting.

Attendees enjoyed champagne, craft cocktails and a wide range of palate-tempting canapés as they explored the galleries of American Art and the Rice Sculpture Court. The celebration continued as guests moved across Monroe Street into a gorgeously appointed venue on the Chase Promenade in Millennium Park – a fitting parallel to reflect the visual and civic ties of the Art Institute to the park’s architecture, design, and shared public spaces.

Dinner was served in a candlelit setting framed by lush drapery transformed through a design of deep magenta-hued lighting with fuchsia and rose-gold table accents. Menu highlights included a grilled spring vegetable Napoleon, roasted halibut with fresh grapefruit caper sauce, and French macaroons.

For the entertainment portion of the evening, Eryn Allen Kane – powerhouse vocalist, songwriter, and actress—thrilled the crowd with an incredible performance, all the more meaningful for her deep connections to Chicago and shared commitment to inspiring and educating communities through creative experience.

Guests stayed late into the evening, dancing and enjoying the beautiful setting as the Chicago skyline framed their celebration. President James Rondeau and director Eloise W. Martin congratulated the Board, the Woman’s Board, the gala co-chairs, and the host committee: “We’re extraordinarily fortunate to have such a passionate and committed network of loyal museum supporters and donors. They make it possible for us to pursue our bold ambitions with confidence and determination.”

Guests seen on the scene included Pam and Roger Weston, Jackie Terrassa and Betsy Rosenfield, Chis and Anne Reyes, Barbara Bluhm-Kaul and Don Kaul, Elizabeth and Michael Cole, Dustin O’Regan and Steve Worth, Gary Metzner, Gloria Groom, Kevin Salatino, Janet and Craig Duchossois, Ken Bennett, Caryn Harris, Les Coney, Anne Kaplan, Liz and Eric Lefkofsky, Denise and Gary Gardner, Carroll Joynes, Abby O’Neil, Jim Bay, Suzette and Ally Bulley, Erin Fowler and Taylor Cope, Toni and Rick Canada, Anita and Prabha Sinha and many more. (Robert Kusel, Dan Rest and Jeff Ellis Photography)

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