On The Town: SAMS 30th Anniversary Gala

Sarah Cardoza
Posted on November 19, 2015, 3:42 pm
3 mins

Photos by Tiffany Bri 

On Saturday November 14, the Seattle Art Museum Supporters (SAMS) held their 30th Anniversary Gala. Big-name guests and long-time patrons of the Seattle Art Museum poured into the SAM foyer dressed to the nines in ballroom gowns and tuxedos, poised for an evening of socialization and celebration.

The SAMS Gala celebrates all the support from SAMS members, who have been continually supporting the Seattle Art Museum since 1985, when SAM board member Sally B. Nordstrom was tasked with fundraising for the brand new downtown museum—no mean feat. From its first meeting of 25 women, SAMS has risen to its current status: a prestigious fundraising group of Seattle elite.

The evening opened with a cocktail hour, and Seattle’s artistic cream of the crop were out in spades, posing and fraternizing on the red carpet. Owners of the Gala’s co-sponsor Market Optical, Lisa Thornhill Richman and Ruvane Richman made an appearance. Meanwhile Sally B. Nordstrom, the Honorary Chair, was spotted in an elegant navy and floral gown chatting with her husband John W. Nordstrom and SAMS president Shelley Buhler, wearing a striking amaranth gown. Heather O’Mahony of event co-sponsor Bonhams attended with a co-worker from London. Other board members in attendance included Barbara Malone, Barney Ebsworth, Winnie Stratton, Susan HutchinsonJohn Frank and Eve and Nancy Alvord. 

Flowers were everywhere, nodding to the current exhibit, Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art. Gala co-chair Nona Battistella flawlessly achieved an artful and elegant look in her bright floral dress. She and fellow co-chair Chidem Cherrier, along with the entire SAMS Gala Committee, kept the evening moving with precise execution. The decor and lighthearted mood were perfectly orchestrated with the Impressionist treasures from the likes of Monet and Renoir. Flowers seemed to have spilled from the canvases throughout the museum, with petals even strewn across countertops. The air was sweet with music as guitarist Andre Feriante serenaded the guests with flamenco guitar. As a grand finale to the cocktail hour, Whim W’him dancers took the floor with two fairy-tale-like numbers. The women’s seafoam dresses looked straight from a dream of Degas.

Guests moved upstairs to The Brotman Forum for dinner, beautifully appointed with white tables and vibrant floral centerpieces by Fiori Floral Design, all beneath the scintillating cars of Inopportune: Stage One (Cai Guo-Qiang). Opening remarks were made by SAM Director Winnie Stratton, Shelley Buhler and Sally B. Nordstrom as they all gave thanks for the wondrous community support of the arts in Seattle. The dinner entertainment featured a performance by Somar Macek of Heart by Heart, leaving no space for a dull moment, and KEXP‘s DJ Michele Myers kept the party going well into the late evening with her upbeat tracks.

The evening was dazzling, elegant and high-society to say the least. See our photos of the scene below.