Angelic or devilish, WAC's 'Garden' gala had it all
For Lance Lundberg, the arts center's chairman, it was a heavenly evening at "Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil," the event's theme, where the hundreds of patrons and party-goers were asked to "Choose a path ... halos or horns." Lundberg was honored at the event for his contributions to the arts, with one person calling him "the go-to guy," and another praising his passion for the arts center and love for the arts.
"We are very appreciative of what our guest of honor has done for the town. He does a lot of good things but he does them quietly," said Robert Frank of Westport.
The magical event featured accents of southern hospitality, including gallons of mint juleps, jazz and zydeco, a bourbon bar, silent auction, tarot card reader, sculptures, voodoo gardens, landscapes created by local designers and artists, and a table laden with long gummy snakes, jelly beans, fireballs and lemon drops (both of the candy and alcoholic shots varieties), licorice and other candies. "This is evil alright," one woman said.
The music was performed by local rock band Tangled Vine, which perform many songs with lyrics about devils, demons, angels and heaven including the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" and a spirited rendition of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."
Just outside the tent that covered the Green at National Hall along the Saugatuck River two artists represented the fires of hell -- glass-blower Sky Hayes of Fairfield using a torch to mold glass into flowers, leaves, snails and other creations while blacksmith Nicholas Wicks Moreau forged functional and decorative metal art objects. Inside, five angelic performers -- who could be described as balletic break dancers wore wings as they twirled and flipped on the checkerboard dance floor.
Auctioneer Sybil Bruncheon of Manhattan jokingly chided men for wearing white tuxedo jackets before Memorial Day, but they were only taking the theme of good and evil to heart. Many people wore black and white attire, although Stacie Curran of Westport took her wardrobe in a different direction. Curran dressed as a devil in red complete with horns and a pitchfork.
During the awards ceremony inside Vespa restaurant, Lundberg received the "flame of glory" glass trophy, an elaborate chocolate dessert that was a work of art, and heaping amounts of praise. Some of the appreciative words came from his son Alec Lundberg in the form of a letter to the Westport Arts Center in which he said, "I'm very proud to have a father whose patronage of the arts has led to the fulfillment, happiness and realization of creative dreams in others. Your work with WAC is yet another reflection of your humanity, generosity and desire to give back to the community."
Lance Lundberg said he is privileged to work with WAC and proud of its more than 200 programs that each year reach more than 11,000 people in Westport and surrounding communities.
"The arts center has been an important part of my life and has drawn out more of the good in me in me in this world, the Garden of Good and Evil," he said.
Money raised by the gala helps support WAC's programs in the community, including outreach for underserved schools in Bridgeport and Norwalk, therapeutic arts for the elderly, cancer patients, military veterans who are homeless, and children with special needs.
In the Westport area, the WAC presents chamber music and jazz programs, and regularly hosts artist exhibitions in its gallery.