Kimball Gala’s purpose is in black-and-white |

Kimball Gala’s purpose is in black-and-white

Fundraiser inspired by Serrra’s prints

The Kimball Art Center’s annual gala has become bigger and more ambitious in the past few years.

The event that raises money to support the nonprofit’s exhibitions, educational programs and events, was held at The Stein Eriksen Lodge in 2014 and then moved to the Montage Deer Valley the next year.

Last year, the fundraiser was housed in the Kimball Art Center’s current location, 1401 Kearns Blvd., and featured an extravagant multi-media presentation titled “Way of the Rain,” which was presented by watercolor artist Sibylle Szaggars Redford and her husband, Robert, the founder of the Sundance Institute.

So, the pressure was on for this year’s event which will be held from 6-9:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 13, at the Kimball Art Center, said gala chairwoman Vanessa Di Palma Wright.

“To be honest, I racked my brain for quite a while to come up with something completely different,” Wright told The Park Record. “The gala’s steering committee and I put our heads together and came up with the idea of coming back to the focus and core of what the Kimball Art Center stands for in our community.”

This year’s theme is “Art Starts Here.”

“We want to embrace and celebrate arts and what the Kimball Art Center offers the community,” said Wright, who is also the owner of the pop-up fashion boutique, Farasha.

The event’s design is inspired by Richard Serra’s black-and-white prints currently on display at the art center’s main gallery.

“We’re doing an all black-and-white theme,” Wright said. “We’re encouraging everyone who attends to wear black and white to keep with the feel of the event.”

Taking the concept a step further, Wright called in MANICPROJECT Photography, established by Philip Istomin, to take black and white photographs of gala attendees.

“[Philiip] is probably one of the most creative photographers in fashion and portraits whom I have worked with in Utah,” Wright said. “I brought him in to do a portrait lounge, so everyone in attendance will be able to get a black and white portrait as a memento.”

The evening’s bites and sips will be provided by Done to Your Taste, headed by Eileen Dunn, who catered last year’s gala.

“I told her that we wanted to celebrate the arts this year and that I wanted to the guests to be able to express themselves through the food, the art and the total experience of the gala,” Wright said. “So, she is creating a fun food-bar concept where the food and desert are inspired by art.”

Dunn is also creating an art bar where gala guests can make their own cocktails.

“We did a tasting a month ago and she blew it out of the park,” Wright said. “She took it to the next level and her whole staff will wear black and white aprons.”

The evening’s entertainment will feature music by DJ Chaseone2.

“The reason why I hired DJ Chaseone2 is because he has been involved in the gala for several years,” Wright said. “He was the guy who provided the music for my fashion shows. So, he understands the Kimball Art Center crowd and the vibe I look for. We wanted to have more of a hip and contemporary vibe where people can chill and network.”

The highlight of the evening will be a live auction.

“The Kimball Art Center’s Young Artist Academy students have repurposed a collection of chairs that will be part of the auction,” Wright said. “Maren Mullin, who is my co-chair this year, worked with Amy MacDonald [Kimball Art Center’s artistic director] to make sure we were able to get these chairs for the YAA.”

There will be 10 chairs in the auction, which will also feature other items.

“Our other partners include Zions Bank, Ohana Realty and Montage Residencies: Los Cabos,” Wright said. “And Ohana Realty, who owns Montage Deer Valley, donated a five-day stay.”

In addition the company also donated a three-bedroom beachfront getaway at Montage Los Cabos.

“Montage Los Cabos, which will open in 2018, will be one of the most iconic properties they have invested in,” Wright said. “I’m excited to see who will win that.”

Other auction items include a multi-media work by Dolan Geiman from Gallery MAR, and a Palm Springs desert retreat getaway that was donated by board member Jenny Samuelson and her family.”

“This year’s gala is simple, but it will be an evening that people will remember,” Wright said. “It’s about art and it will celebrate an amazing nonprofit that supports art and art education in our community.”

The 2017 Kimball Art Center gala fundraiser will be from 6-9:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 13, at 1401 Kearns Blvd. Tickets are $300 per person and can be purchased by visiting

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