Black & White Masquerade Ball fundraiser to be held May 16

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Friends of the Palmer Museum of Art will host the museum’s annual gala and auction from 6:30 p.m. to midnight Friday, May 16, at The Nittany Lion Inn. Guests will enjoy a celebratory evening complete with an elegant sit-down dinner, dancing, and silent and live auctions led by master of ceremonies Richard Wylie.

This year’s theme is based on the iconic 1966 ball hosted by writer Truman Capote at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. A variety of masks will be available, but guests are encouraged to bring their own masterpieces and don the colors of black, white and red. Embodying a 1960s theme, the Friends selected the evening’s menu to include the following courses prepared by chef Andrew Monk of the Nittany Lion Inn: asparagus oscar, seared filet and jumbo shrimp with Plaza Hash ragout and potato gratin, and a dark chocolate and peanut butter crunch cookie topped with white chocolate cheesecake mousse and strawberry gelée for dessert. Following the live auction, dancing will take over the ballroom at 9:30 p.m. with musical entertainment by the Pittsburgh-based Smokin’ Section, who have been the House Band for KDKA-TV’s "Jerome Bettis Show," "The Hines Ward Show" and currently "The PNC Steeler Huddle Show," and has opened for many headliners including Kenny Wayne Shepard, Eddie Money and The Guess Who.

Longtime community members Benson and Christine Lichtig are being featured as this year’s honorary chairs for the many years Christine has served as a museum docent, along with her and Benson’s support of the museum in many different facets. They both have been strong advocators for the museum and hope to inspire others to take advantage of this local and free-admission cultural resource.

Auction items include a range of unique and artful offerings from dining options and experiential packages to jewelry and works of art. Items can be previewed at the museum’s website,, by clicking on the Gala 2014 icon. The Friends continue to pursue creative ways to highlight the outstanding artists within our own community and will feature a select few at the event again this year. The 2014 Featured Artists include Alice Kelsey, Jeff Mathison, Brienne Brown and John Bowman. All of their works will be included in the silent auction with the exception of the one that will be chosen to appear in the live auction. The selected artist will be presented with the honor of receiving the 2014 Palmer Friends Distinguished Artist award during the course of the evening.

All are invited to attend the museum’s benefit gala. Preregistration and payment are required ($175 per person; includes $60 tax-deductible donation). All proceeds benefit the Palmer Museum of Art and provide funding for the museum’s free public educational programs that include lectures, gallery talks, musical performances, poetry readings, workshops, films and docent-led tours for school and community groups, as well as, sustaining a vital, free-admission resource for our community and those that visit.

All attendees that come to this year’s gala who are not current Friends of the Palmer Museum of Art will receive a free six-month membership to the group, which includes the following benefits: newsletter and calendar of events; a 10 percent discount at the Museum Store, excluding consignment items; invitations to members-only events, such as opening exhibition receptions; and an invitation to the Friends’ annual Holiday Art and Ornament Sale preview reception. A Friends’ membership may be purchased for as little as $35 for a year.

For more information about the gala or becoming a Friend, contact Jennifer Feehan, coordinator of membership and public relations, at 814-863-9182 or

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Last Updated April 16, 2014