A vibrant kick-off party for PONCHO’s 46th Annual Gala was held at the Bellevue Arts Museum, giving guests a sneak peak of the upcoming event. The Nouveau Glam Gallery preview party, presented by Marqsmen, was a collaboration of art and fashion. Poncho teamed up with Fashion First to create some buzz for the red carpet PONCHO Gala Auction on April 12.
“Bellevue’s a pretty hip place and Fashion First brings a young audience and freshness to PONCHO,” explained Fashion First executive producer Joan Kelly, who also teaches fashion marketing at the Art Institute of Seattle.
The preview party showcased spring lines from Marqsmen and Sway & Cake. Guests mingled while sipping on drinks provided by Skyy Vodka and Campari and enjoyed appetizers provided by Tom Hurley of Coupage. The event was captured by Duell Fisher and his crew at Team Photogenic who interviewed guests using their new video component and took photos throughout the two-hour event. DJ Darek Mazzone from KEXP provided the evenings casual lounge vibe.
The evening captured a blend of humor, fantasy and glamour, explained Rose Dennis, the Gala Chair for PONCHO’s 46th Annual Gala Auction.
“We decided to throw this preview party to introduce the younger generation to PONCHO and the arts,” explained Dennis, adding that 60 percent of patrons are from the Eastside.
Poncho, began in 1963 by a group consisting of Seattle business, philanthropic and art patrons. The organization began as a fundraising group to raise money for the arts in and around Seattle. Over the past 46 years, PONCHO has raised more than $33 million in support of over 200 local arts organizations.
To fund art programs, PONCHO has relied on its volunteer-based board members, generous beneficiaries and people in the community who support the arts. According to the organization’s mission statement, PONCHO is dedicated to enriching the quality of life in this region through increasing resources and community support of the arts.
As an added addition to the annual Gala Auction, several years ago, PONCHO added a new “raise the paddle” tradition that allowed individuals to donate additional funds to support arts education and outreach programs. Since 1997, the individual donors have donated close to $20,000 each year that is distributed among youth-oriented programs. A number of youth-based art programs have benefited from the donations including Seattle Children’s Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra, ArtsCorps and Book-it Repertory Theatre.
PONCHO, the state’s oldest art funding organization, continues to strive to create a diverse and expansive art community. According to PONCHO executive director, Gordon Hamilton the partnership between PONCHO and Fashion First brings a whole new group of people to the organizations events.
“As I look around this party I can’t help but notice the resemblance this crowd has of the crowd that attended the first Gala back in 1963,” explained Hamilton. “It’s a way for PONCHO to become refresh and revive.”
Hamilton praised the board members who volunteer their time and energy for the arts as the true champions in the organization and said,
“The board members are people who love the arts and give back through financial means and participation.”
The 46th Annual PONCHO Gala Auction will take place on April 12 at the Westin in Seattle. The black-tie event will feature a silent and live auction led by auctioneers Dick Friel and Kip Toner.
This year, the auction will only offer attendees 50 exclusive Live items for bidding including trips, top-of-the-line gadgets and technology, fashion, jewelry and fine arts. To give a taste of what will be presented at the Gala Auction, a painting by Robbi Firestone was on display at the Nouveau Glam Gallery preview party.
“I support PONCHO because the focus is art and education. I am very passionate about exposing children to art and allowing them to use self expression as an outlet,” said Firestone.
This is the first year her paintings will be up for auction at the PONCHO Gala.
Each year, the Gala Auction takes on a different theme and this year it is all about the glamour, glitter and glow to make for an unforgettable evening. The preview party displayed a sample of what’s to come and was accented with bright blues, neon greens and rich pinks and purples that brilliantly matched the parties vibe.
Entertaining and Event Specialist of Count Kody Incorporated described the creative process of designing such an elaborate event.
“The whole approach this year was to add a fresh take on the Gala. To get my inspiration, I started with a color palette echoing the brilliance of a peacock feather and went from there,” explained Count Kody. “For this event I chose these brilliant hues then pulled some contemporary elements into that and added 100 percent creativity. What I ended up with was a streamline of glamour but with hints of tradition. It really captures where PONCHO is transitioning to as an organization- young, trendy and edgy with a dash of glam.”