Carol and Regan Cole
Updated: January 7, 2012 8:10AM
The Women’s Board of the Art Institute hosted its first-ever holiday gala last Tuesday when about 350 crimson-clad partygoers — most with little ones in tow — gathered in the museum’s Griffin Court to sip eggnog, listen to Christmas carolers and gear up for the holidays in spectacular style.
Laura Werner acted as chairwoman for the whimsical event and was joined by other well-known attendees including Cindy Pritzker, Maxine Farrell, King Harris, Elizabeth Ryan (with daughters Alexandra and Charlotte) and fashion maven Ikram Goldman.
Revelers young and old enjoyed fanciful diversions from the museum’s educational department. A few of the highlights included a photo booth for silly shots to take home and craft stations to create your own Christmas tree ornaments. Edible treats also satiated the kids’ palates with chicken fingers and baked mac ’n’ cheese, while adults noshed on more sophisticated delicacies including caviar on toast and smoked salmon deviled eggs.
Tickets to the seasonal soiree were $100 for adults and $35 for children.
The folks of LaRabida Children’s Hospital, 6501 S. Promontory Dr., brought together 600 of their most supportive friends last month at the 25th annual gala benefitting the South Side lakefront medical center. The soiree welcomed local business leaders, former patients and resident doctors to raise funds and support the hospital’s mission to provide youngsters with chronic illness and developmental disabilities the care they need, regardless of their family’s ability to pay.
Partygoers including state Sen. Kwame Raoul and Mesirow Financial CEO Richard Price began the evening with cocktails in the Four Seasons Hotel’s ballroom. Later, guests sat for dinner of grilled filet of beef while CBS2 anchor Rob Johnson emceed for the program that included speeches from LaRabida President and CEO Brenda Wolf and the presentation of the 2011 Friends of LaRabida Awards. This year’s honorees were James H. Wooten Jr., senior vice president of Illinois Tool Works, who received the prize for humanitarian vision; Magellan Corp. for corporate involvement, and PNC Bank for corporate partnership.
Wolf announced that the gala had broken previous fund-raising records, raking in $700,000 for the hospital. “We believe that all kids are entitled to quality health care regardless of their family’s financial circumstances,” she said, “In order to accomplish this, we require this support.”
Robert Aguilar, Howie Alper (who attended with his wife, Frankie, a longtime volunteer who founded the “Friends of LaRabida Gala” in 1986), Heather Morris, Emilio Salvi and David Speer shared co-chair duties.