The 59th Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Ball, Montreal
The swish and perennially sold-out fundraiser, now in its 59th year, netted a record-breaking $1.6-million for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts on Nov 2. The money raised not only provides the museum with nearly 60 per cent of its annual operating budget, but also contributes to developing exhibitions and public programs.
Stephan Crétier, founding president and CEO of GardaWorld and his wife, Stéphany Maillery, were the evening’s honoured guests, and those at the gala were among the first to step foot in the Stephan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery Wing for the Arts of One World. The series of newly refurbished galleries on the fourth floor of the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion are now populated with more than 1,500 objects from the fourth millennium BC to today, which have been smartly brought together in a way meant to spark intercultural discussions.
Party concepts at Montreal’s foremost ball are always elaborate and each year’s theme is taken rather seriously. This year’s was “harmonies,” inspired by the new galleries. Artistic direction of the ball was undertaken by Melissa Thompson of Cirque du Soleil fame, with help from scenographer Anne-Séguin Poirier, who together took a look at various cultures and settled on nine natural materials common among them, including wood, metal, gold, porcelain and clay. These materials then inspired elaborate dining and schmoozing spaces throughout the museum.
More than 1,000 black-tied art, finance, political types and members of the museum’s Young Philanthropists Circle collected in the sprawling galleries, and later, the dance floor. Among them: Marc Parent, president and CEO of CAE, and Jean Raby, CEO of Natixis Investment Managers, who together served as the evening’s chairs; Unttld design duo Simon Bélanger and Jose Manuel Saint-Jacques; Mayor of Montreal Valérie Plante; president and CEO of Quebecor Inc. Pierre Karl Péladeau; furniture and jewellery designer Alysia Yip-Hoi; MMFA Foundation director Danielle Champagne, the museum’s chair of the board of trustees Michel de la Chenelière, and, of course, its director and chief curator Nathalie Bondil.