NEW ORLEANS, LA – On the evening of Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 6 p.m., five-hundred patrons of the arts will gather at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans for the annual O What a Night! Gala, an unparalleled celebration of Southern art, culture and cuisine chaired by Charles Urstadt and David Bernard, along with Christa and Matt Schwartz. The glamorous black-tie event, previously featured everywhere from Elle Décor to Garden & Gun, highlights the important mission of the Ogden Museum: to broaden the knowledge, understanding, interpretation and appreciation of the visual arts and culture of the American South.
This year’s Gala will honor Coleman E. Adler II, the CEO of Adler’s Jewelry and member of the Ogden Museum Board of Trustees, and John Alexander, an internationally recognized artist whose work is a contemporary embodiment of the natural South. Both individuals will be recipients of the Opus Award, an award given annually at the O What A Night! Gala.
Adler has a passion for New Orleans and for civic duty. The iconic Alder name represents four generations of presence in New Orleans, Jefferson Parish and Baton Rouge with an artistic legacy. For years, the well-known family has designed artistic, commemorative pieces, celebrating occasions and events like the Centennial, Bicentennial and Mardi Gras.
Referring to his leadership example, William Pittman Andrews, Executive Director of the Ogden Museum says, “I think Adler’s early training as a watchmaker gave him an acumen for organizational development. He has a long history of commercial, civic and philanthropic work in the New Orleans area and was involved in the Downtown Development District when it was formed to help preserve the legacy of the Central Business District. As a patron of the arts, he has robustly supported institutions, exhibitions, publications and artists themselves, often ahead of trends. For instance, with the Arts Council, Adler organized a project that involved artists painting murals on Canal Street’s boarded windows when much of the street was vacant decades ago.”
“Coleman has been a valued source of advice and support as a director of the Ogden Museum since its inception,” say Charles Urstadt, Chairman of the Ogden Museum’s Board of Trustees. “In keeping with his family’s four-generation commitment to New Orleans, Coleman has devoted himself to improving our city through his strong but quiet participation in many important charities. I cannot think of a more deserving person to honor at the O What A Night! Gala.”
Alexander’s work has been widely exhibited across the United States, with a major retrospective at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2007 and at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston in 2008.
Alexander’s work has been added to the permanent collections of many museums including the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; the Meadows Museum, Dallas; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans; the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
Alexander was also a 2013 recipient of the Guild Hall Lifetime Achievement Award in East Hampton, New York.
“John Alexander may have left the South nearly 40 years ago, but the landscape and culture of his Texas home still permeates every inch of his surface,” says Bradley Sumrall, Curator of the Collection for the Ogden Museum. “His work is deeply rooted in the wild bayous of his childhood, but it is also forged in the crucible of formal training, tempered through immersion into the works masters such as Goya and Ensor, and refined through years of relentless and focused studio production. Throughout his career, symbolism and narrative have guided each brush stroke, each line, each composition. Through drawing and painting, John Alexander captures the savage beauty and heroic martyrdom of the natural world, as well as the darker side of human endeavor. His work is not art for art’s sake, but art for humanity’s sake – a cautionary tale of an impending environmental apocalypse and a reminder of what might be lost.”
Past winners of the Opus Award include noted art collectors Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida, Louisiana painter George Rodrigue, philanthropist Bill Goldring, President of The Helis Foundation David Kerstein, community activist Fran Villere and artist Lin Emery.
Underwriters for the year’s Gala include La Petite Grocery and Balise, along with Charles Urstadt and David Bernard. Sponsors include Coleman E. Adler II, Coquette, Goldring Family Foundation, Gregory Holt & Lucy Burnett, The New Orleans Advocate, New Orleans Auction Galleries, Roger Ogden & Ken Barnes and Sazerac, Inc.
Members of the 2018 Gala Committee include Coleman and Cherie Adler, E. Tiffany Adler, Elizabeth and Mickal Adler, Tristan Bultman, Tracy Copeland, Mathilde and Richard Currence, Diane and Wayne Ducote, Lauren and Bryan Fitzpatrick, Dr. Jerry and Carolyn Fortino, Alexa Georges and Jerry Armatis, Walton and Jeffrey Goldring, William Goldring, Jessie Schott Haynes and Beau Haynes, Daynese and Randy Haynie, Jane Scott and Philip Hodges, Janet and Scott Howard, Kevin Kelly, Allison Kendrick, Megan Kendrick, Paul J. Leaman, Jr. and Marilyn V. Dittman, B. Benjamin Lowry and Shelly Gallender, Matthew B. Moreland, Betsy Nalty and Dick Simmons, Michelle and Field Ogden, Roger Ogden and Ken Barnes, Judith Y. Oudt, Ware M. Porter Jr., Tia and Jimmy Roddy, Laura and Sonny Shields, Karen Soloman, Stacy and Jay Underwood, Fran Villere, Tommy Westervelt, Dawn Wheelahan and Amanda and Teddy Winstead.
The evening will begin at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception held in the historic Patrick F. Taylor Library designed by the iconic master architect Henry Hobson Richardson and a Silent Auction presented by New Orleans Auction Galleries. Chefs Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus of Coquette will serve hors d’oeuvres. Following the Silent Auction and cocktail reception, Gala attendees will enjoy a seated dinner and meticulously crafted menu from James Beard award winning Chef Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery and Balise.
Musical entertainment will be provided by noted trumpet player Jeremy Davenport and his band, as well as the D Play Band, presented by Blue Earth Productions.
Guests will also be wowed by the Gala decor, designed by Ware M. Porter of Ware & Co.
The centerpiece of the Gala is the spirited live auction presided over by Christie’s auctioneer Robbie Gordy. This year’s auction features major works by Raine Bedsole, Aron Belka, Elizabeth Bick, Jim Blanchard, Fritz Bultman, Michael Deas, George Dunbar, Betsy Eby, Margaret Evangeline, James Flynn, David Gamble, Doyle Getjejansen, L. Kasimu Harris, Birny Imes, Mallory Page, Ashley Pridmore, Gregory Saunders, James Surls, Ed Whiteman and Susan Worsham.
A Patron Preview Party will be held Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 6 p.m. at the Garden District home of Ogden Museum Board Member Troy Scroggins and his partner Keith Malvitz. Patrons will have the opportunity to preview the live auction lots that will be featured at the Gala while enjoying cuisine by Chefs Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus of Coquette.
The O What a Night! Gala is one of the most highly anticipated Southern social events of the year and is always a sell-out. Last year’s event raised over $900,000 for the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s exhibitions, education and outreach programs.
For more information about O What A Night!, please contact the Ogden Museum of Southern Art at 504.539.9631 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Ogden Museum
Located in the vibrant Warehouse Arts District of downtown New Orleans, Louisiana, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art holds the largest and most comprehensive collection of Southern art and is recognized for its original exhibitions, public events and educational programs which examine the development of visual art alongside Southern traditions of music, literature and culinary heritage to provide a comprehensive story of the South. Established in 1999 and in Stephen Goldring Hall since 2003, the Museum welcomes almost 85,000 visitors annually, and attracts diverse audiences through its broad range of programming including exhibitions, lectures, film screenings and concerts which are all part of its mission to broaden the knowledge, understanding, interpretation and appreciation of the visual arts and culture of the American South.
The Ogden Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. with extended hours on Thursdays from 6 – 8 p.m. for Ogden After Hours. Admission is free to Museum Members and $13.50 for adults, $11 for seniors 65 and older, $6.75 for children ages 5-17 and free for children under 5.
The Ogden Museum is free to Louisiana Residents on Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. courtesy of The Helis Foundation. The Helis Foundation is a Louisiana private foundation, established by the William Helis Family. The Art Funds of the Helis Foundation advance access to the arts for the community through contributions that sustain operations for, provide free admission to, acquire works of art and underwrite major exhibitions and projects of institutions within the Greater New Orleans area.
The Museum is closed Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day.