Partying with the Patrons

Written by Andrea
May 10, 2010

Last week included several unique opportunities to mingle with DC patrons of the arts. These local amateurs of the arts and philanthropists span business, diplomatic, and political circles, coming together to bolster arts and cultural initiatives, both locally and across the country. The annual Arts Biz Ball celebrated the collaboration of arts and business on Thursday night. The stylish affair at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre featured Jennifer Cover Payne, President of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington, and David Mann, Chair, in presenting one of the most well-known local supporters of the arts Anas “Andy” Shallal with an award for his work. Shallal is a philanthropist and artist in his own right, perhaps best known as proprietor of the bar/coffeehouse/restaurant chain Busboys and Poets, now in three locations, with two more on the way.

Partygoers kept pace with toe-tapping jazz by The Herb Scott Trio, delectable catering by Geppetto Catering, including passed lamb shanks, mushroom rolls, fresh tuna, pesto chicken skewers, savory duck pastries, and a roasted antipasto platter. The cheese platters and petits fours, especially the chocolate cannoli and lemon pastries, earned rave reviews from attendees as well.

The Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington is dedicated to sustaining and increasing regional leadership, appreciation, support, and resources for arts and culture. It strives to nurture a regional arts network by enhancing collaboration within the arts and cultural community and among business and other interest groups. The Cultural Alliance's key programs include,, JOB Bank Online, and Business Volunteers for the Arts.

Friday night was, once again, all about the arts at the Phillips Collection Annual Gala After party (featured on GregsListDC). The gala raises funds for educational, creative, and cultural causes for some 90,000 children, teachers, and families nationwide. Following a sophisticated cocktail hour on the first floor and patio of the Phillips, Phillips Chair and Lockheed Martin sponsors reiterated their commitment to the arts. Attendees then moved upstairs to dine among the artistic masterpieces including Renoir, Rothko, O'Keefe, Diebenkorn, and van Gogh. The dinner, attended by 400 of DC's most powerful leaders, included the Udalls, Podestas, Justice Bader Ginsburg, Ambassador Pekka Lintu, Ambassador Wegger Christian Strommen, Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, and journalist and political commentator Nina Totenberg just to name a few of the illustrious attendees.

After a sumptuous dinner, guests moved down the road to the The Society of The Cincinnati's mansion headquarters, The Anderson House, for dessert, dancing, and cocktails. They enjoyed hibiscus champagne, a fruit bar, and a crème brûlée station. Desserts at the main buffet station, which would have satisfied even the sweetest of teeth, included chocolate dipped ice cream lollipops, watermelon sherbet, mini strawberry-rhubarb tarts, decadent chocolate cake, an assortment of springy floral motif cupcakes, and brie topped with fruit and nuts. The band struck all the right party-making chords, from Jerome Kern to the Temptations, as guests got down before retiring from the spring evening with a Georgia O'Keefe-inspired bulb swag box in tow.

For those who didn't attend last week's events, rest assured that the best is yet to come and, fortunately for DC culture enthusiasts, also is ongoing. The Phillips, with its 90th anniversary festivities around the corner, and monthly Phillips After Five happy hours, will continue to welcome art amateurs and professionals, supporters, and visitors year-round. Similarly, the galleries, theaters, and concert venues of the Cultural Alliance, as well as the Alliance’s generous business partners, bolster ongoing programming in a host of venues. Catch both the Phillips and the Anderson house along with the other historic edifices members of the Dupont Kalorama Museum Consortium for free the weekend of June 5th for their 27th Annual Dupont Kalorama Museum Walk.

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