The gala world's hippest trend
You know it’s a good party when they run out of Champagne flutes and guests are forced to drink Moet from white wine glasses. Thus was the case at the New World Symphony (NWS) gala and after-party: after-party being the key phrase.
Many organizations are creating after-parties as a way to seduce younger donors and bring them into the gala world. With gala ticket prices in Miami ranging from $500 to $1500, a $100 to $150 after-party ticket is far more reasonable to the younger crowd.
NWS spared no expense with their post-event bash. A big band orchestra was situated to the rear of the New World Center stage, while chic white couches were placed downstage. Stage left had a photo booth and the images it snapped were projected overhead – and a dance floor was created center stage that was bumpin’ with nimble-toed patrons, young and old, converging in a celebratory and sophisticated Jazz era mosh amid symphonic surroundings.
The after-party is not just limited to younger audiences. The influx of new, fashionable attendees tempts many of the older donors to stay around longer than they ordinarily might. As the clock neared midnight at the NWS after-party, art dealer Marvin Ross Freidman, a significant donor for many arts groups, mentioned that this had been the latest he had been out in a long time – a feat that received little resistance from girlfriend Adrienne bon Haes. Freidman was seen chatting away with architectural designer Alfred Karram Jr. – perhaps an art deal in the making for Karram’s St. Regis project.
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) had an after-party following their 15th Anniversary Gala. MOCA’s primary fundraising event in the past had been a huge bash, so an after-party was never needed. But this year the museum chose to have a sit down affair in the museum at $1500 a ticket, pricing out many of the people who have attended either “POP” or “The Bash” in the past.
According to MOCA’s Brittany Lopez, the after-party was successful because it gave a chance for the MOCA Shakers, MOCA’s young professional group, to party out with the 30 plus artists in attendance.
The MOCA after-party coincided with the dessert course of the gala dinner, a technique that appears to be a trend. Lyon and Lyon provided passed hors d’oeuvre style sweets consisting of chocolate truffles, warm petit madeleine and Scottish shortbreads with lemon curd. There was also a dessert bar that featured banana flambé, whole apple tarte tatin, raspberry-browned-butter tart and chocolate budino with espresso mascarpone.
The Miami Art Museum (MAM) had a significant after-party following their “Ball”, which took place on the Saturday of Art Basel week. The crazy party atmosphere of Art Basel virtually ensured success for the MAM after-party. Titled “Crash the Ball”, the event was led by the MAM Contemporaries, the museum’s young professional group. Guests danced to AndrewAndrew as they transformed the ballroom at the Fontainebleau into a dance party and attendees were treated to The Art of 5 Minutes, a video installation featuring an exhibition of music videos as seen through the lens of contemporary art.
“We had an amazing host committee, which was a major reason for the after-party’s success,” said Marcella Novela, chair of the MAM Contemporaries. “The committee consisted of eight of Miami’s hottest local artists and each designed 10, one-of-a-kind center-art-pieces for the tables. Guests at the after-party entered into a raffle to take home their very own piece of art.”
Like the MOCA after-party, MAM’s post-Ball party coincided with dessert. “We had an incredible buffet with a vast assortment of late night munchies,” said Novela. “Even for those of us who participated in the dinner, the buffet of snacks and sweets kept us going into the wee hours of the night.”
The Miami Science Museum (MiaSci) had their second consecutive “Big Bang” after-party following their gala. According to after-party chair, Izzy Havenick, the post-gala festivities brought in an additional 250 young professionals who care about the Miami Science Museum. In this instance, MiaSci reached outside of its core group inviting members from the groups HYPE, Leadership Miami, Miami Foundation and New Leaders Council.
“The after-party was a success because we made ‘crashing’ the gala fun,” said Havenick. “Combining both events made it exciting for the gala attendees and young professionals who came later.”
In fact, the ‘Big Bang’ was so successful that Havenick has chosen to chair it again next year. “I am the youngest member of the MiaSci board and I want to be able to encourage my contemporaries to contribute to a cause I believe in, while having a good time,” he said.
The unifying element for each of the above mentioned non-profits is the ongoing existence of their young professional groups. Each of the organizations has events throughout the year that cater to their young professionals, and the gala after-party is simply another reason to bring everyone together.
Of course arts groups and museums have built in hooks to draw young people to their functions. Non-profits from other genres often lack the resources to consistently keep a core group of young people together, making a gala after-party difficult to execute – although some employ the expertise of nightlife promoters.
But for those groups that do have a healthy supply of young professionals who come together with frequency, the gala after-party is a fine conclusion to an organization’s signature fundraising event.
Aaron Glickman is a writer, actor and filmmaker. Through his contributions to SocialMiami, he has had opportunities to document many fascinating people and organizations in the fields of philanthropy, the arts, fashion, design and real estate including Carolina Herrera, James Rosenquist, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, Russell Simmons, Nicole Miller, Christian Louboutin, Lin Arison and many more. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Miami Theater Center (MTC) and is on the Executive Committee of the National YoungArts Foundation.