Proceeds Top $1.34 Million at Asia Society’s 2020 Tiger Ball: Celebrating the Elegance of Japan
Gala Honors Legendary Arts Supporter Lynn Wyatt
- View more photos on Flickr.
HOUSTON, March 9, 2020 — Tiger Ball 2020: Celebrating the Elegance of Japan honored Texas’ iconic and beloved champion of the arts, Lynn Wyatt. The event was led by co-chairs Kathy and Marty Goossen and Akemi and Yasuhiko Saitoh, and recognized honorary chairs Kathy and Glen Yoshiaki Gondo, Wendy and Jeff Hines, Stephanie and Frank Tsuru, Brenda and Marc Watts, Donna Fujimoto Cole, and Shota Kondo. A total of $1.34 million was raised to support Asia Society programs.
At 725 guests, this year’s Ball welcomed more people than any other ball since the building opened in 2012. Guests were transported into a Japanese-inspired spring paradise, created by The Events Company. A pink carpet (not red!) and Japanese cherry blossom trees welcomed guests into the Center, which is itself an award-winning work of art, created by famed Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi.
An entire truckload of Japanese cherry blossom branches decorated the Center and the Gala Pavilion, plus white Phalaenopsis orchids, roses, pink orchids, Vanda orchids, magnolia Japonica, fringed tulips, Asclepias, and a new breed of tulip known as the Leo spider tulip. Flowers were sourced from Thailand, Holland, and Oregon, and totaled approximately 10,000 blooms.
During the cocktail hour, guests perused the auction items in the Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall (including a special area featuring items from Galleria designers such as Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, David Yurman, Valentino, Fabergé, and Max Mara, curated by The Simon Group), visited the Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery to view the just-opened Eternal Offerings exhibition of ancient Chinese bronzes, created memorable moments at three separate photo stations throughout the Center, and dined on yellowtail and maki sushi underwritten by Sushic, LLC.
Japanese taiko drummers led the way into the lavishly decorated 80’x181’ Gala Pavilion transforming the Asia Society parking lot. Cherry blossom trees and special lighting greeted guests at the entrance to the Pavilion. Dozens of origami-inspired cranes and white rice paper and feather lanterns hung from the ceiling. Several oak trees in the parking lot were adorned with cherry blossom branches to add to the Japanese springtime ambiance.
A sumptuous Japanese-inspired menu was served in the Pavilion, featuring okonomiyaki pancake with smoked duck, tuna tartar, Wagyu beef tataki, spring rolls, edamame and jasmine rice cake, jumbo lump crab with melon, miso-glazed sea bass, and kabocha squash timbale. The dinner was created and served by a remarkable 170 City Kitchen staff members.
After dinner and the program, guests returned to the ASTC building for dancing and a panoply of desserts, including flambéed cherries served over ginger ice cream, matcha panna cotta, chocolate chiffon pinwheel chake, apricot cheesecake with star anise, and a variety of mignardese and mochi ice cream.
This year’s silent auction featured unique experiences and one-of-a-kind items, such as a once-in-a-lifetime 3-day private tour of Japan’s Benesse Art Site on Naoshima island with a 2-night stay at Benesse House; tea at London’s world-famous Harrods with the great-granddaughter of Carl Fabergé, plus a private curator-led tour of one of London’s museums and 5 nights’ stay at either The Ritz London in Picadilly or The Four Seasons at Park Lane; luxury accommodations in New York City with exclusive tours at the Big Apple’s most famous museums and a 5-stop “Best of NYC Ice Cream” tour; an exclusive dinner and wine pairing for 4 guests at Michelin-starred Chef Aaron Bludhorn’s highly anticipated new restaurant; dinner for 8 at the River Oaks home of Japanese Consul-General Fukushima, prepared by the C.G.’s personal chef Bunshiro Hirano; and dinner for 10 with Rice University president Dr. David W. Leebron and first lady Y. Ping Sun in their 1920’s mansion. This year, patrons also could bid $888 (a lucky number in Asia) for a 1-in-3 chance at 10 pieces of dazzling jewelry, sponsored by Tenenbaum Jewelers.
The evening was created by an all-star team--décor, lighting, and floral: The Events Company; tent: Aztec Events & Rentals; catering: City Kitchen; DJ: DJ Senega of Karma DJs; video: Asia Society production staff.
In addition to the Ball honorees, honorary chairs, and chairs, tonight’s special guests include Sushila and Durga Agrawal, Nancy Allen, Muffet Blake and Bob Murray, Kristy and Chris Bradshaw, Gracie and Bob Cavnar, Anne and Albert Chao, Molly and Jim Crownover, Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Ann and Peter Fluor, Lily and Charles Foster, Mandy and William Kao, Leela and Nat Krishnamurthy, Sultana and Moez Mangalji, Shazma and Arshad Matin, Duyen and Marc Nguyen, Sylvia and Gordon Quan, Sue and Randy Sim, Leigh and Reggie Smith, Y. Ping Sun and David Leebron, Nanako and Dale Tingleaf, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Michelle and Rishi Varma, Starlee Sykes and Al Vickers, Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel, plus members of the consular corps from Japan, as well as China, India, Korea, New Zealand, and Pakistan, and officials from TECO (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office)
Proceeds from the Tiger Ball support Asia Society Texas Center’s 150+ public programs each year. Next year’s Tiger Ball will be held in March 2021, honoring longtime Asia Society supporters Sultana and Moez Mangalji.
View more photos on Flickr.
Million Dollar-Plus Houston Night Salutes Japan and Lynn Wyatt — Cherry Blossoms and Sake Make for an Elegant Scene. Paper City. March 10, 2020
Hear the Roar! Tiger Ball Brings in $1.3 Mil. Houston CityBook. March 11, 2020
Asia Society Texas Center flips the switch on Tiger Ball, record 725 guests raise $1.34 million. Houston Chronicle, March 10, 2020.
About Asia Society Texas Center
With 14 locations throughout the world, Asia Society is the leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and West. Asia Society Texas Center executes the global mission with a local focus, enriching and engaging the vast diversity of Houston through innovative, relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education, and community outreach.