The fuzz had a pleasant conversation with a goon and dames got dolled up to dine with flappers as months of meticulous planning came together when the Triton Museum of Art held its Roaring 20s-themed gala on May 4.
According to Executive Director Jill Meyers, planning for the fundraiser begins late summer and takes approximately two months, between board and fundraising committee meetings, to narrow down ideas and settle on a theme.
“The themes always start at the committee level,” said Meyers. “Everyone on the committee always has great ideas, but it takes a few meetings to really talk about what we can do and how people can have fun with what they wear. In the process, we’re looking for a theme that’s fun because we don’t want this to be a stuffy, boring fundraiser. We want people to have a good time and enjoy themselves.”
By fall of the year prior, the theme is set and immediately the museum’s small staff gets to work seeking sponsors and selling tickets for the event, which is always held the last Saturday in April or first Saturday in May.
This year, Development Associate Erica King took the lead in soliciting donations and assembling the baskets that would become silent auction items. Marketing and Program Coordinator Jen Dao created the imagery, marketing collateral, e-blasts and social media posts used to promote the gala. Education Coordinator Gio Mathey coordinated the galleries and arranged for two 1920s-era vehicles to frame the red carpet walkway leading to the museum’s entrance on the night of the event, and, in the week prior to the gala, Preparator Nikki Lomeli prepared gallery walls and hung the art up for auction.
“Everyone says that Millennials ruin everything,” said Triton Deputy Director Preston Metcalf. “We’ve got a team of Millennials on our staff that are so creative, and have so many great ideas. They’ve come up with the idea of a wine barrel bar for the speakeasy and ideas of what we can do to set a tone. I give full credit to an amazing team of young, fresh ideas and energy.”
Although creative energy is vital to ensuring a positive experience for patrons, the art, donated by local artists, is what draws buyers to spend. Calls for donations are sent out early each year to those who have previously donated and e-blasts and social media posts are used to recruit new donors.
Artists submit their works to the museum with a value and minimum bid price. Pieces without a value are examined by one of the museum’s curators to determine its market rate, and those without a stated minimum bid begin at 25 percent of the value. All pieces are accepted regardless of medium or subject matter, and for their donation, each artist is afforded the option of receiving a ticket to the gala, 20 percent of the final sale of their piece or donating without a return.
Just three days before the event, it was all hands on deck as the museum’s staff diligently worked to prepare for Saturday’s event; turning the community-focused museum into a speakeasy with 20s-style music performed by pianist Tamami Honma in one gallery and an elegant party in another.
On the night of the gala, the bootleggers were kept at bay, but hooch was flowing in Jill’s Juice Joint (speakeasy). Signature cocktails were created and wine was donated by Jay Lohr. Caterer, The Party Helpers, got into the theme with bite-sized bits like salmon lollipops, deviled eggs, chicken pot pies and strawberry shortcake.
Over 80 pieces of art were up for auction, and by evening’s end, nearly all had found new homes with one of the approximately 175 guests in attendance. Around $45,000 was raised to support the museum’s programs and exhibitions.
The museum will next hold the return of its Midsummer Cultural Celebration art fair on June 29. For more information visit tritonmuseum.org