Colombian artist Fernando Botero's paintings and sculptures, now on exhibit at St. Petersburg's Museum of Fine Arts, are grand in scale, and the Stuart Society gala was a grand black-tie party connected with the new show. Nearly 200 guests attended the sold-out celebration.
Dinner tables set up in the museum's conservatory featured decor orchestrated by Anthony DiGardo of Neiman Marcus in Tampa's International Plaza, one of the evening's sponsors. The leopard-print tablecloths and tall vases filled with bright flowers and citrus fruits gave a tropical atmosphere to the event, and multicolored votive candles decorated the museum entryway.
Greeting guests at the dinner were Ray Ifert of co-sponsor BNY Mellon Wealth Management, and event co-chairs Kathleen Doermer and Mary Maloof.
Maloof and her husband, Eddie, were event patrons with Stuart Society president Chris Hilton and her husband, Bob, and Hazel and Bill Hough.
Underwriting the event were Fran and Bud Risser, Susan and Mack Hicks, Glenn and Dav Mosby, the Chapman Foundation and Betty Chapman.
The exhibition features 100 paintings, sculptures and drawings, and it is the first retrospective of Botero's works in North America since the early 1970s. It runs through April 4.
Community volunteer Mary Wyatt Allen was the honoree at a tribute presented by the St. Petersburg Museum of History Guild. Despite the rain, more than 200 guests attended the festivities, held in the home of Michele and Phil Farley.
Onetime St. Petersburg Mayor Randy Wedding was master of ceremonies for the event, which included presentations from Mayor Bill Foster, guild president Sparky Ierna, board of trustees president Connie Kone and board member Linda Santoro.
Anyone who knows Allen knows her penchant for the patriotic colors red, white and blue, which figured prominently in the party decor. For more than 50 years, she has supported a variety of charities with special emphasis on child welfare, the arts and St. Petersburg's heritage.
Ann Taylor led the event committee, with help from Debbie Corson, Diane Winning, Edie Spies, Nora Pearson and Kathy Guckenberger.
Past honorees have been Gov. Charlie Crist and retired St. Petersburg College president Carl Kuttler Jr. The event was a fundraiser for the museum.
Flutist Kathy Terry performed for the Florida Orchestra Guild's annual Kringle Mingle, and orchestra president Michael Pastreich talked about plans for the orchestra.
Bill and Sally Habermeyer were hosts for the holiday gathering, which included guild president Krista Whipple, Joan Jaicks, Patsy MacLean, Marty Hallas, Claire Mazzella and Precella Wallace.