66th Annual Beaux Arts Ball

Over $1 million raised for children and families at Nicklaus Children's Hospital

Beaux Arts Member Priscilla Rettig

Beaux Arts held its 66th annual ball themed “Miami – The Magic City.” Miami’s longest running costume ball was held at Biscayne Bay Yacht Club where guests celebrated the Magic City and enjoyed a philanthropic night benefiting the University of Miami Lowe Art Museum.

Guests were immersed in an exotic evening under a huge clear tent, completely decked out in lush tropical décor including table assignment cards set in clementine oranges and elaborate centerpieces surrounded by pink flamingos and gold-painted pineapples. Upon arrival, guests were met with wild local fauna such as baby crocodiles and tropical birds, underwritten by Associate Beaux Arts member Jane Battle.

Nearly all of the 225 guests dressed in elaborate costumes reflecting many different interpretations of the theme “The Magic City.” This year’s Ball was chaired by Mrs. Lauren Billingslea Dowlen.

The gala paid tribute to Beaux Arts’ many community and children’s art programs, while celebrating its rich history of nearly 70 years of supporting The Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami.

Beaux Arts Ball President Aubrie Page Andrea and Ball Chair Lauren Billingslea Dowlen

The evening program was introduced by Beaux Arts President, Aubrie Page Andrea, who thanked guests (many of whom were past Beaux Arts presidents) and current sponsors, and introduced Dr. Jill Deupi, the Beaux Arts Director and Chief Curator of the University of Miami Lowe Art Museum.

Highlights of the evening included Master of Ceremonies, former Miss Teen Florida, Victoria DiSorbo, who guided the evening program and a powerful live performance by the Marcia Mitchell Band, well known for it’s high-energy, “concert-style” performances.

An important part of the night came when Associate Beaux Arts member Heather Hansen Bass and her husband Jeffrey Bass led patrons through a “Fund-A-Need” fundraising event. Guests were asked to help reach a $10,000 financial goal to enhance the organization’s initiatives. In quick time, guests “bid up” a dollar thermometer well past that goal.

The pièce de résistance at every Beaux Arts Ball is the judging of costumes and the performances of group skits. This year’s celebrity judges of the annual contest were Mark A. “Mr. Coral Gables” Trowbridge, President & CEO, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, and the reigning Miss Florida, Taylor Tyson.

Costumes included: “Santa’s Enchanted Forest,” Coral Gables’ “Umbrella Sky” art installation, a classic Pan Am flight crew, Miss Orange Bowl contestants, Cocaine Cowboys from the 80s, Ace Ventura Pet Detective, George E. Merrick, a flock of flamingos and a handful of Coconut Grove traffic-stopping peacocks. Best Costume was awarded to Christo’s ‘Surrounded Islands’ created by Coco and Venny Torre.

The Best Skit prize was awarded to the “Miami Hurricanes, featuring Stormy Daniels, a weather forecaster.” Created by Mandy MacMullan Greenan and husband, Tyler, with Jeff and Vicki Carbonell Williamson, Mary Munroe Seabrook, Caroline and Lee Irvin, and Bentley and Tommy Balzebre. Headpieces were lit like a thunderstorm, and the skit included commentary by “Stormy Daniels” (Jeff Williamson) which featured the usual type of lead-up to a Miami hurricane weather event, including “spaghetti models” and politics.

The ball was well-attended by Beaux Arts’ corporate sponsors, including Mercedes Benz of Coral Gables and Cutler Bay’s Greg Barnes, President and Chief Operating Officer, Bill Ussery Motors Group and his wife Paige Barnes, a past Beaux Arts President.

Also in attendance was the Dr. Brandt Foundation sponsor, including Stephane Colleu, President and CEO of Dr. Brandt Skincare, and his wife, Laurine, as well as the Dr. Brandt Foundation team: Toki Dela Cruz and Romeo Aldana.

John Fumagalli, President of Northern Trust/Florida and his wife Sara, a Beaux Arts member, attended in full costume.

“Every year our ball raises pivotal funds toward arts education,” Beaux Arts President Aubrie Andrea said. “With the help of countless supporters and sponsors, we are committed to keeping Beaux Art educational programs and the Lowe Art Museum for years to come in our community.”

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