Life of the Party: The Corcoran’s Glitzy Night

by Laura

The venerable Washington art museum draws an A-list crowd for its annual benefit.

By Allison Priebe Brooks

Allison Priebe Brooks, Jennifer Mellon Peters, Meredith Holland, Sara Regan, and Audrey Swanstrom at the Corcoran Ball on April 20 (Photo by Kyle Samperton).

Ballgoers sparkled amongst the glitz and glamour of the 57th annual Corcoran Ball, one of the main highlights of Washington’s spring social calendar.

A three-course dinner set inside the Corcoran’s historic galleries drew a true A-list crowd. Among the 1,000 attendees were members of Congress, ambassadors, politicos from the Obama White House as well as previous Presidential administrations, and many of Washington’s most dedicated and active philanthropists.

The annual ball raises money for scholarships for the college, underwrites the Corcoran’s award-winning community outreach and education programs throughout the District, and supports the Corcoran’s long tradition of bringing outstanding artists and their collections to the gallery.

Proceeds from the evening benefit the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the College of Art + Design’s institutional programs and activities, including special exhibitions, art restoration, scholarships for students and educational outreach.

Steve Labensky and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (Photo by Kyle Samperton).

As an added treat, guests were afforded the opportunity to admire the work of the Corcoran’s talented graduating senior class, dubbed NEXT at the Corcoran.

“The Corcoran is a leading art institution and it is evolving and positioning itself for long-term growth,” said Harry Hopper III, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Working together, the trustees, valued staff and dedicated friends of the Corcoran are taking proactive steps to integrate our galleries, our college and our community outreach activities to educate, inform and engage the pubic around contemporary issues.”

As in past years, The Corcoran’s Women’s Committee, under the direction of Nancy Smith, created different design concepts for 15 rooms at the Corcoran. Cocktails flowed before guests sat down to dinner and dessert Washington caterers, Occasions. Afterward, guests mingled and danced to the tunes of The Radio King Orchestra, Phil McCusker and Orchestra, McCusker & Barrick Music and Miles Stiebel Quartet.

T.C. Osterander, Pamela Brown, Senator Mark Warner, and Lisa Collis (Photo by Kyle Samperton).

As the clock struck 10 p.m., a younger crowd arrived to mix it up at “Club Corcoran,” a late-night offering for the city’s young professionals. Spotted were this year’s ball chairman Deborah de Gorter and her mother, watching dancers spin and twirl on the dance floor. “Hopefully this will be the next generation of supporters of our beloved museum,” said de Gorter. “What fun!”

Guests included Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and his wife Lisa Collis; the Corcoran’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees Harry Hopper III and his wife Maria Hopper; Catherine Armour, provost and chief academic officer of the Corcoran College of Art + Design; Nancy Smith and husband Steven W. Smith. Additionally, French Amb. François Delattre as well as honorary chairman and internationally acclaimed artist Sam Gilliam, a past Corcoran faculty member and tireless advocate for arts education, were in attendance.

Fresh faces on the Junior Committee this year included Mr. and Mrs. Eli Peterson, Mr. and Mrs. Maxmillian Angerholzer III, Mr. and Mrs. John Regan and Mr. and Mrs. Ethan Drath mingling about among prized artwork by Degas, Monet and John Singer Sargent.

Neil and Izette Folger (Photo by Kyle Samperton).

Socialites take note: the 58th Corcoran Ball has been set for April 19, 2013. Can’t wait until then? Fear not; there are many ways to get involved with this venerable institution. Simply visit The Corcoran for more information.

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