Early blustery winds and torrential rainfall eventually made way for a gorgeous cotton candy sunset just as guests arrived at the Conservancy Gala Grand Finale, ‘The Sky’s The Limit’.
With the stately to-scale model of The Parthenon as a backdrop, guests entered through multiple arches festooned with silver star-shaped Mylar balloons.
Sandra Lipman, who co-chaired the beautiful event with close friend and seasoned philanthropist Laura Neiwold, saw something very similar while attending a fashion show in Paris. She knew straight away she wanted to recreate the festive allée of silver. Multi-award winning event designer, Amos Gott, worked closely with the co-chairs to bring their vision to a highly elevated level at every turn.
The covered walkway that led into the clear tented area was lined with various architectural shapes that also served as pathway lighting.
Once inside the guests were greeted by a live statuesque ’Athena’ as a nod to the 42-foot-gold statue that stands inside the Parthenon in Centennial Park. In 1897 a temporary Parthenon was the focal point of the 100th Anniversary celebration of Nashville. Before Nashville was known as Music City, it was known as the Athens of the South due to the large number of colleges and universities within the city. The current permanent structure was constructed in 1921 and took 10 years to build.
Although the original Athenian Parthenon was built as a pagan temple, Nashville’s Parthenon serves as the City’s Art Museum and offers programs and lecture series. It is also housed on the grand lawn of Centennial Park, a popular venue for special events. And with Vanderbilt University just across the street, it a very popular choice for many student outings.
Each table inside the tent was laden with details of considerable thought and vision to create a blend of modern sculptural table decor balanced with replicas of Greek elements. Huge chandeliers in the clear tent dripped in elongated lighting creating a starlight ambiance that complimented the elegant backdrop of the stage where a quartet from Belmont University played during dinner.
The dinner was Greek inspired and included a colorful Greek salad followed by braised short ribs with demi-glace and roasted pepper puree, orzo with spinach, red pepper and feta, zucchini, portobello and tomato. The gorgeous dessert was chocolate baklava with mascarpon and chocolate mousse, drizzled with honey. The remarkable meal was provided by Kristen Winston Catering.
Retiring Founding Conservancy President, Sylvia Rapoport, was treated with a fun sibling repartee from sons Max and Benjamin Goldberg as they presented their mom with a warm and heartfelt banter of appreciation. Incoming Conservancy President, John Tumminello, announced a commitment of one million dollars to the newly created Sylvia Rapoport Future Fund much to Rapoport’s delight and surprise. Tumminello and Rapoport then acknowledged the event Honorary Chairs, Hope Stringer (who conceived the idea of a Gala in Centennial Park), Ellen Martin, Nancy Peterson Hearn, and the late Clare Armistead.
Also a huge thank you was given to Andrea Berger known as “the Conservancy Atlas” whose help with the event was immeasurable. And of course a huge thank you was given to the two hard working co-chairs, Laura Niewold and Sandra Lipman.
Next was a very fast and fun live auction to the delight of auction chair, Denise Cummings Hopmayer.
Then-the exciting entertainment began! Featuring rare event appearances from delightfully believable Diana Ross (Piper Jones) ‘Adele’ (Libby Nivens), and ‘Elton John’ (Patrick Thomas)’.
The event grossed over one million dollars in support of The Parthenon and Centennial Park and its maintenance and many cultural programs.
Photographs by Alan Poizner