El Museo Del Barrio Museum’s Spring 2018 Gala

Museum galas are not only high profile social events; they’re the most critical fundraisers on their calendars. They traditionally bring together luminaries from the worlds of entertainment, business, society, politics, the arts, and fashion, to raise necessary funds for the museum, and unsurprisingly (as they go hand in hand), fashion and the arts are often honored in equal part.

Honorees Cesar Reyes, Marta Minujin, Esteban Cortazar, & Julio Reyes Copello
Photo by Samantha Nandez BFA.com

Such was the case with El Museo del Barrio’s 25th annual Spring Gala 2018, held at The Plaza Hotel on Thursday evening. New York’s premier Latino cultural institution under the stewardship of executive director Patrick Charpenel honored Esteban Cortazar, Marta Minujin, Cesar Reyes, and Maestro Julio Reyes Copello. Approximately 400 guests attended, and over $900,000 raised at the sold out event.

Colombia born Paris based Esteban Cortazar received the Excellence in Fashion Award. Referred to by Vogue as “the most uninhibited designer showing in Paris”, his signature style, informed by his upbringing in Miami in the 90’s where being mentored by Gianni Versace, pays homage to his Latin heritage combined with French craftsmanship and feminine structure.

Marta Minujin, the Argentine conceptual and performance artist, received the Excellence in the Arts Award. Her impressive work being featured in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), Art Museum of the Americas (Washington D.C.), Olympic Park (Seoul, Korea), the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, MNBA (Buenos Aires), The Museum of Modern Art (New York), and Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), received the Excellence in the Arts Award.

Puerto Rican psychiatrist César Reyes, who has established himself as a prominent global art collector who enthusiastically promotes the importance of Latin American art, received the Outstanding Patron of the Arts Award. Colombia born multi-Grammy award winner and classical pianist, composer, songwriter, and producer Maestro Julio Reyes Copello, received the Cultural Pioneer Award. He is considered to be the most influential Pop Producer of Latin Music in the last 15 years by Billboard Magazine.

Julio Reyes Copello, Maria Eugenia Maury, Marta Minujin,Clarice Tavares. Patrick Charpenel
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner 

The event chaired by Tony Bechara, Maria & Alberto de la Cruz, William A. Haseltine, Maria Eugenia Maury  (she is Chair, Board of Trustees), Claire Oliveira Tavares. The incomparably talented Cuban born fashion designing duo Isabel and Ruben Toledo,  being honored with the Excellence in the Arts Award in 2016, were among those on the Host Committee. Fashion figures who served as Honorary Committee members were Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim, Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, Andre Leon Talley, Candy Pratts Price, Maria Cornejo, and Angel Sanchez.

Jean Shafiroff and Victor dE Souza
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

Among the eclectic group of guests who packed into the Plaza Hotel’s Grand Ballroom were Jean Shafiroff and fashion designer Victor dE Souza (Jean’s dramatic blue strapless gown designed by Victor).

Agatha Ruiz de la Prada with Tony Bechera and Irene Rodriguez
Photo: Laurel Marcus

Also, there was the designer and Spanish noble Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, philanthropist Fabiola Beracasa Beckmann, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem Thelma Golden.

Gallerist Henrique Faria
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

And gallerist Henrique Faria (his priestly red cloak, ‘Cardinal’ red shoes, and theatrical red eye makeup conjured up thoughts of the Met Gala on Monday night).

Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

The colorful, highly spirited event began with cocktails (the gala underwriter was Maestro Dobel Tequila, so you know THAT was flowing). Dinner and dancing followed it (of course!) in a room festively decorated to capture the colorful energy (it was at this time that awards given to this year’s honorees and speeches were made).

An artfully attired guest checking out the art in the auction
Photo: Laurel Marcus

There was a first time silent and live benefit auction (in partnership with Paddle8) featuring works of art generously donated by artists Francis Alys, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Carmen Herrera, Raphael Montanez Ortiz, Liliana Porter, among others. Proceeds will provide critical funding to support the Museum’s exhibition, programming, and bilingual educational initiatives.

See https://m.paddle8.com/auction/el-museo/. The auction ends on May 14th at 4 p.m.

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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