Party Report: Art Museum’s Young Friends Winter Gala

Lauren St. Clair Lynch dishes on the annual black-tie fundraiser.

Even the weather was on theme at the Young Friends Winter Gala, held to introduce 2012’s Van Gogh Up Close exhibit and to raise funds for museum tours for inner-city students, Saturday night at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Gusts of wind swept guests into the west entrance with the force and vivacity of Van Gogh’s brush strokes, ruffling dresses and eliciting high-pitched giggles.

Red was the color of the night, from the blood-orange martinis waiters carried about on silver trays to the unexpected splashes of red in Van Gogh’s personal collection of Asian prints. And of course, red dresses! Julia Sherwood Murphy, co-chair of the event, wore a slinky red lace sheath with bell sleeves that left us (and her) completely breathless. Board member Jacqueline Cassidy, sported an Asian-inspired embroidered red satin sheath, and my own dress was a floor-length red jersey as well; we were just three of many.

Newly engaged Lindsay Dekich, in fluttering light yellow chiffon, and Vlad Ratushny, were glowing from a recent jaunt to the Bahamas. Gabriela Guaracao, with boyfriend Chad Waring, looked fantastic in black sequins. And Heather Hauser Steiner, executive board member, caused jaws to drop left and right (as usual) in a half-sleeve, coppery confection that looked as if it were still liquid.

RC Atlee was buzzing about taking pictures and collecting stories for his revived online society paper, Proper Philadelphia. I loved RC’s polka-dot tie—but then, us polka dot lovers were in our glory Saturday, with board member Johnny Im wearing his famous (infamous?) polka-dot tux jacket, and Julia Murphy’s hubs Ari in an aggressively polka-dotted shirt. Winter Gala tends to bring out the most fun fashion choices of black-tie season, and this year was no exception!

Guests hitting up the raffle table were not disappointed, with offerings including a foursome at Plymouth Country Club, dinners at Bistrot la Minette and LaCroix, chocolates from John & Kira’s, a golf bag from Wynnewood Audi, tickets to the Mann, and much more. Revelers after-partied at 10 Arts until the early hours.

Even after being a part of the planning committe, I find it amazing that a gala this fun can do so much good! Winter Gala raises tens of thousands of dollars each year that go to support acquisitions, Young Friends events, and guided museum tours for students who could not afford to visit otherwise. To that, I’ll raise a glass. (By the way, if you’re interested in becoming a Young Friend or joining the gala planning committee, please contact Megan McNeely at

Lauren St. Clair Lynch and Tim Engelke

Sam Patel and David Bria

Dara Warren and Kat Hinkel

Ilana Waber and Alexander Hankin

Edward and Kate Webber

Lindsay Ouellette and Steve Oh

Emily Gerstell and Chris Schmitt

Brian Kelley and Karen Rensman

Kat Hinkel, Johnny Im, Jackie Cassidy, and Shirin Heidary

Jocelyn Firth and Ingrid Levin

Rikki Renz and Jill Allem

Joshua Weinstein and Reba Kline

Erin Eddy and Quianna Enang

Meredith Brisco and Deirdre Sawinski

Sarah Wright, Matt Aggon, and Katie Miller

Julia Sherwood Murphy and Nicole Johnson

Russell Kohn and Carolyn Blair

Kacie Adams and Chloe Johnston

Nikki Roberts, Dylan McGarry, Morgan McGlaughlin and Lauren Ladd

Cleo Wade, Alex Catarinella and Caitlin Moe

Sheryl Condit and Jeff Batoff

Ronica and Patrick Cleary

Andrew and Christine Kennedy

George Howard, Jennifer Caudle and Draion Burch

Lauren and Stephen Zollo

Paul Boni and Nancy Schure

Adriana Torres O’Connor and Kerry O’Connor

Charles Waring and Gabriela Guaracao

Brittany Siravo and Dan Segal