A Fair to Remember

Columbia Museum of Art 2015 Gala

March 21, 2015

7:00 p.m. until Midnight

Thank you for a wonderful Gala!

Click here for photos of A Fair to Remember on Saturday, March 21, 2015.

The Gala celebrated our major spring exhibition, Charles Courtney Curran: Seeking the Ideal, with a grand party in the spirit of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Guests enjoyed entertainment by The Root Doctors, the USC Dance Company, and Extreme Illusions & Escapes starring Josh Knotts & Lea. The Gala is the museum’s largest fundraiser of the year and raises critical funds to support our mission to provide outstanding art and arts education for lifelong learning and community enrichment for all. Thank you to the Gala Committee, volunteers, sponsors, and guests for supporting the museum and creating a memorable evening.

Where Did Our Sponsorship Names Come From?

Each of our sponsorship levels is named for an important person from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Read on to learn more about them!

Charles Courtney Curran

The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, better known as the Chicago World’s Fair, presented the largest exhibition of American art ever assembled in this country. Charles Courtney Curran displayed an impressive 11 paintings and, while the fair was in progress, trained his artistic eye on the event itself, creating at least 18 paintings of various daytime and nighttime scenes. Two of those images are in the CMA’s spring exhibition, Charles Courtney Curran: Seeking the Ideal.

George Washington Ferris, Jr.

A Pittsburgh-based bridge builder and steel magnate, George Washington Ferris, Jr., challenged the engineering feat of the Eiffel Tower built four years earlier in Paris by creating world’s first Ferris wheel. The highlight of the Midway at the Chicago World’s Fair, the wheel rose 264 feet in the air, could hold 2,160 people at a time, and cost 50 cents to ride (twice the price of entrance to the fair itself!).

Nikola Tesla

Using Nikola Tesla’s recently invented alternating current, the Westinghouse Corporation outbid Thomas Edison and General Electric for the lighting of the world’s fair. Visitors marveled at the wondrously lit “White City” and witnessed Tesla’s phosphate system at work in the fair’s Hall of Machinery. After the exposition, alternating current powered the vast majority of American electric devices, including the world’s largest generator at Niagara Falls.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison and his direct current might have lost the bid to power the World’s Columbian Exposition, but he made a splash with his demonstration of the world’s first commercial system for making and showing motion pictures. Edison’s extraordinary machine combined his phonograph with a projected photographic filmstrip that rapidly projected images.

Scott Joplin

Before he was dubbed the “King of the Ragtime Writers,” celebrated African-American pianist and composer Scott Joplin formed his first band in 1893 to take advantage of all the opportunities for live music on and around the fairgrounds. His take on the day’s popular ragtime entertained countless numbers of the more than 27 million people who attended the fair.

Frederick Law Olmsted

The father of American landscape architecture was in charge of “anything that grows” on the World’s Columbian Exposition’s 633 acres. Almost 50 years after designing New York’s Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted turned Chicago’s swampy Jackson Park into a dreamy and manicured wonderland that included miles of lagoons, a wooded isle, and magnificent vistas to Lake Michigan.

John Phillip Sousa

Fresh out of retirement from his fabulously successful U.S. Marine Band the year before, John Philip Sousa and his band rocked the Chicago fair with his irresistible marches. His six-week run was tremendously popular, guaranteeing his spot among the most famous musicians in the world.


What can you expect at the Gala? Check out these short videos from our co-chairs, partners, and sponsors.

2015 Gala Sponsors

  • Curran Presenting Sponsor

  • Ferris Sponsors

  • Tesla Sponsors

  • Edison Sponsors

  • Joplin Sponsors

  • Olmsted Sponsors

  • Sousa Sponsors

2015 Gala Committee

  • Candace Bailey
  • Katy Bair
  • Drew Baron
  • Charlotte Berry
  • Penny Blachman
  • Emily Brady Marketing Co-Chair
  • Lydia Brandt
  • Vivian Breedlove Food & Beverage Co-Chair
  • Julie Brenan Gala Chair
  • Wendy Broderick
  • Jesse Bullard
  • Lari Chillag
  • Christian Depret-Bixio Fundraising Chair
  • Jessica Derr
  • Sylvie Dessau
  • Brian Dolphin
  • Michele Dugar Marketing Co-Chair
  • Sonya Dunn
  • Kris Esgar Entertainment Chair
  • Steven Ford Gala Chair
  • Shannon Franklin
  • Libby Gober
  • Kiosha Gregg
  • Anna Griswold
  • Sallie Guess
  • Susie Heyward
  • Lynn Hodge
  • Ann Holtschlag
  • Karen Hood
  • Doni Jordan
  • Betsy Kaemmerlan
  • Jason Kistler
  • Susan Livingston
  • Lowndes Macdonald
  • Melanie Matthews
  • Erin McCaskill Logistics Chair
  • Teri Keener Mewhorter
  • Dickson Monk
  • Ann Oliver
  • Renee Perks
  • Faith Pope
  • Jenny Quillen
  • Hannah Rogers
  • Walton Selig
  • Christine Sellers
  • Julianne Sojourner Decorations Chair
  • Donna Williams
  • Elizabeth Wolfe
  • Debbie Zvejnieks Food & Beverage Co-Chair

Become a Sponsor

    All sponsors receive recognition on the following materials (name/logo for $5,000 level and above):

  • Signage at the event
  • Gala invitations: Mailed to more than 2,500 CMA members/prospective attendees (deadline for inclusion December 31, 2014)
  • Website: Gala page of the CMA website
  • Annual Report of Donors

Sponsorship Levels


  • $15,000 / $13,800 is tax deductible
  • 16 tickets to the Gala
  • Leading sponsorship recognition
  • Private tour of exhibition for up to 12 guests
  • Complimentary Seeking the Ideal exhibition catalogue


  • $10,000 / $9,250 is tax deductible
  • 10 Tickets to the Gala
  • Complimentary Seeking the Ideal exhibition catalogue


  • $5,000 / $4,400 is tax deductible
  • 8 Tickets to the Gala


  • $2,500 / $2,050 is tax deductible
  • 6 Tickets to the Gala


  • $1,000 / $700 is tax deductible
  • 4 Tickets to the Gala


  • $500 / $350 is tax deductible
  • 2 Tickets to the Gala

For more information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Elizabeth Wolfe, development manager, at (803) 343-2210 or ewolfe@columbiamuseum.org.