Asia Society Texas' 2023 Tiger Ball Raises Over $1.5 Million
Japan-Inspired Gala Honors Kathy and Glen Gondo
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HOUSTON, March 6, 2023 — Asia Society Texas’ (AST) Tiger Ball 2023 raised over $1.5 million while honoring community leaders Kathy and Glen Gondo for their lifelong commitment to building cultural understanding and friendships through Japanese culture. Led by Ball Chairs Julie and John Cogan and Sylvia and Gordon Quan, alongside Honorary Chairs Chinhui and Eddie Allen, Theresa and Peter Chang, Donna Fujimoto Cole, and Aurora and Hirofumi Murabayashi, the chic event on March 3 welcomed guests into a dazzling celebration of the beauty and elegance of Japan. Proceeds from the gala support Asia Society Texas’ efforts to celebrate vibrant cultures and diverse perspectives and to build a more inclusive community.
The event kicked off with a special champagne toast inside the Asia Society Texas Center for the organization’s closest friends and family to raise a glass to the gala’s honorees and leadership. Following the warm welcome by AST Board Chair Y. Ping Sun, board member Gordon Quan toasted the honorees while their son Robert and his wife Jaewon surprised them with a cake adorned with sparklers to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. AST President Bonna Kol and Honorary Ball Chair Donna Cole presented Mr. and Mrs. Gondo with an elegant brass vase made by artist Michael Aram, featuring cherry blossoms to symbolize the renewal and optimism of spring.
As the 575 guests arrived, they were welcomed by drummers from Kaminari Taiko and then transported to springtime Japan upon entering the Gala Pavilion decorated lavishly by Prashe Décor. Pink Japanese parasols floated enchantingly over the dance floor, and guests dined beneath trees laden with cherry blossoms. Magnificent floral sculptures featuring roses, snapdragons, tulips, and more cherry blossoms graced each table, enhancing the experience of a fantastical dinner in Kyoto on the cusp of spring.
During the cocktail hour, guests enjoyed yakitori-style grilled beef tenderloin skewers, a lobster sunomono salad on endive, and curried chicken fritters with plum sauce. In addition, guests were treated to a live interactive sushi bar by Sushic, Houston’s premiere sushi catering company. Guests perused a variety of luxurious silent auction items that included two Harry Winston timepieces including a men’s Midnight Automatic 39mm in 18K rose gold and a women’s Avenue timepiece, a large natural silk rug handmade in Kashmir, three sets of first-class United Airlines airfare to Asia or Europe, and a three-night family getaway at Austin Oasis.
Guests were then treated to a sumptuous dinner by City Kitchen featuring a seared miso-glazed sea bass with curried rainbow baby carrots and sesame-sauteed sugar snap peas with ginger. Following dinner, guests enjoyed a variety of desserts while celebrating on the dance floor with music provided by DJ Scoop of Karma DJs.
As guests departed, they were presented with an omiyage – or gift – from Mr. and Mrs. Gondo of a handmade sake cup made in either the urushi (Japanese lacquer) or Mashiko-yaki (Japanese pottery) style. Inspired by artisans in Fukushima, Japan, who were impacted by the 3/11 disaster, the honorees chose to share a small token of the artists’ resilience with a uniquely exquisite piece for each guest.
In addition to the event leadership, special guests included Nancy C. Allen, Durga & Sushila Agrawal, Divya & Chris Brown, Leslie & Brad Bucher, Tripp Carter, Anne & Albert Chao, Molly & James Crownover, Lily & Charles Foster, Piotr & Maria-Anna Galitzine, Robert & Jaewon Gondo, Kathy & Marty Goossen, Pooja Goradia & Ravi Purohit, David Harvey, Jay Jones, Melanie Lawson & John Guess, Kevin & Sabria Lewis, Shazma & Arshad Matin, Duyen & Marc Nguyen, Gordon Quan, David Ruiz, Sue & Randy Sim, Leigh & Reggie Smith, Y. Ping Sun & David Leebron, Nanako Tingleaf, Janae & Kenny Tsai, Stephanie & Frank Tsuru, Michelle & Rishi Varma, Margaret Alkek Williams, Shiang Ling & George Yang, and Kelly & Luis Zuniga.
A full complement of top-shelf talent created this year’s Tiger Ball, including Aztec Events & Tents, GTX, Prashe Décor, with catering by City Kitchen and Sushic, and DJing by DJ Scoop of Karma DJs.
Proceeds from the Tiger Ball support Asia Society Texas Center’s 125+ public programs each year. Next year’s Tiger Ball will be held in March 2024 and will honor Sabria and Kevin Lewis.
View more photos on Flickr.
Stunning $1.5 Million Japan Night and an Epic 50th Wedding Anniversary Turns Into One of Houston’s Most Beautiful Galas of the Year. PaperCity, March 9, 2023.
Beautiful ‘Tiger Ball’ Celebrates Japanese Culture, Raises $1.5 Mil for Asia Society. Houston CityBook, March 14, 2023.
About Asia Society Texas
Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diverse perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating the vibrant diversity of Asia, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Spanning the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community — trusting in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to combat bias and build a more inclusive society.