Norton Museum of Art Gala Honoring Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

WEST PALM BEACH, FL.—Beloved Mexican artist Frida Kahlo lived most of her life in a house known as La Casa Azul, or the Blue House, named for its cobalt blue walls. The structure, which is now a museum in Mexico City, houses paintings by Kahlo and her husband, Diego Rivera, among other personal items, and is a bright display of color, so it’s only fitting that a gala for a museum showcasing a large collection of Kahlo and Rivera’s work is equally dynamic.

On April 7, more than 500 guests arrived at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, for the museum’s 2022 gala, which raised more than $2 million to support museum programs and exhibitions. . This year’s theme celebrated its exhibition Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collectionwhich is the largest group of works by Kahlo and Rivera ever presented at the Norton.

The 2022 Norton Museum of Art Gala was held in a tent built on the northeast corner of the museum campus. Nashville-based event management company Harbor Entertainment, which produced and designed the event for the sixth time, incorporated terracotta yellows, blues and reds into the decor.Photo: Capehart Photography

“The color scheme was really taken from home,” said Kasey Dedo, creative director of event management company Harbor Entertainment, which counts 2022 as its sixth year of producing and designing this event. “Lots of yellow, blue, a really saturated terracotta red, that’s really the base of the inspiration.”

Dedo added: “There is a big virtual tour you can take [La Casa Azul], so you can see everything. She has a lot of very traditional Mexican crafts at home, so it was also a huge source of inspiration, especially pottery and textiles, drawing a lot from those pieces.

This year's gala celebrated Norton's exhibition Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, which is the largest grouping of works by Kahlo and Rivera ever exhibited at the museum.This year’s gala celebrated Norton’s exhibition Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collectionwhich is the largest group of works by Kahlo and Rivera ever exhibited at the museum.Photo: Capehart Photography

Norton’s 2022 gala was held in a tent built on the northeast corner of the museum’s campus, where guests were treated to cocktails in the garden, dinner, live music and late-night dancing. Dedo said a tent environment can be a challenge in terms of decor, compared to a space with preset rigging points – “it’s a little different than walking into a room and being able to hang everything you want” – but a fun challenge. “We have a big empty space to work in, which is the dream.

Decorating highlights include floral linens that Harbor Entertainment had custom made by Nua Fabrics, a Mexican textile manufacturer. Dedo discovered Nua Fabrics through another show Harbor was producing, and at the time they were promoting a new line based on traditional Mexican embroidery.

Mexican textile manufacturer Nua Fabrics custom-made floral linens for the event as a nod to Frida Kahlo's beautifully embroidered garments, some of which were on display in the museum's exhibit.Mexican textile manufacturer Nua Fabrics custom-made floral linens for the event as a nod to Frida Kahlo’s beautifully embroidered garments, some of which were on display in the museum’s exhibit.Photo: Capehart Photography

“Part of the exhibit at the Norton showed real Frida Kahlo clothes, which are beautiful,” she said. “Everything is embroidered with bright colors and pompoms.”

Large chandeliers hung above the guests and were created on steel frames with fabric wraps and hanging tassels in all event colors. Dedo said that to make the ceiling decor stand out, it needed to be large to match the expanse of the tent.

These large chandeliers were created on steel frames with fabric wraps and hanging tassels.  Harbor Entertainment creative director Kasey Dedo said that for the ceiling decor to stand out, it needed to be large to match the expanse of the tent.These large chandeliers were created on steel frames with fabric wraps and hanging tassels. Harbor Entertainment creative director Kasey Dedo said that for the ceiling decor to stand out, it needed to be large to match the expanse of the tent.Photo: Capehart Photography

But the Nashville-based team at Harbor Entertainment are familiar with this particular event and see their consistent workflow with the Norton team as paramount to their continued success. Drew Dedothe founder of Harbour, said the museum team also creates interesting challenges to keep it new and different each year.

“Fostering a truly positive working relationship with your client is probably one of the best pieces of advice I can give anyone. [event pro],” he said. “On our end, we really enjoyed it. I was born and raised in West Palm Beach, and I used to go to [Norton] when I was a kid before this museum grew to the size it is now. It’s a time to come full circle from being from South Florida and being able to come back and do something on your own turf.

Dedo added that working with the blank canvas of the tent means the event is very different every year. “Having the inspiration from the museum and having an exhibit to work from also gives us such a clear starting point. It makes it really fun on our end, design-wise.”

SELLERS
Design and production : Harbor Entertainment
Flowers: Tom Mathieu and Co.
Lighting: Fusedog Media Group
Restoration: Constellation Culinary Group
Valet: Parking at Palm Beach
Group/Entertainment: The Millennials (talent provided by Zanadu Group)

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