Art Ball: Inside the record-breaking $2.25 million night, all for the Dallas Museum of Art

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by ROB BRINKLEY | photographs by MEI-CHUN JAU

It’s hard to raise the bar in the Dallas gala whirl. This town has partying for a cause down to a science. (NASA, take notes.) So when Art Ball co-chairs Jennifer Karol and Catherine Rose pulled on long, white Sgt. Pepper topcoats over their Tom Ford and Lela Rose gowns and went charging up the Dallas Museum of Art’s long incline of a center hall, followed by an entire marching band, all to signal that dinner was ready — well, said bar shot sky-high.

The night was a virtual blast, too, from the thrill of having the DMA’s signature outdoor sculpture tented over by Todd Events for the night (as a dining-room centerpiece, you could do worse than Mark di Suvero’s jam-up of red steel beams) to a rousing two woman concert by a DJ and an electric violinist. There was a boisterous auction by awhip-crackin’ auctioneer from Christie’s (more than a few bidding wars broke out), twisting and shouting to a dance-party band in another tent and a BMW convertible parked outside from Classic BMW/BMW of Dallas, filled with bags of donuts for the munchies on the way home.

Even the way Karol and Rose thanked the ball’s sponsors —a heady list that included The Joule Hotel, Cartier, AT&T, JPMorgan Chase and American Airlines — was novel, by way of a riotous video parody of Downton Abbey, starring Dallas art-world and society shakers doing their best, well, British accents. When all was said and done, the spirited Saturday raised a record $2.25 million for the Dallas Museum of Art. “Untitled,” Karol and Rose called their evening — and now they are entitled to hang up their drum-major hats and bask in some virtual applause.

Your insider’s look at the event starts here. Click the photo below.

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