The paparazzi were swarming at Ringling College of Art + Design during this year’s red carpet-themed An Evening at the Avant-Garde fundraising event, attended by approximately 350 people.
Each spring, An Evening at the Avant-Garde features a different theme that gives party-goers an excuse to dress to the nines in their classiest or wackiest costumes for a social evening of glitz, glamor and fun. All of the proceeds for the event, which costs $200 per ticket, go directly toward supporting the college’s scholarship fund—a tremendous value to the students who rely on scholarship money to attend the private college.
Everyone in attendance had the chance to be a celebrity for the evening at the 15th annual Avant-Garde, where the theme was Hollywood Premiere. A living and breathing, life-sized Oscar statuette and a horde of cheering fans greeted guests at the entrance of the event as they took a stroll down the red carpet, smiling and waving into the flash of numerous cameras.
Once on Ringling’s grounds, celebrity guests met Jackie Rogers as she roamed the red carpet and interviewed them about their experiences. They also had a chance to model for students creating live art and pose for prom-style photos complete with an Oscar under a Lucite dome at a podium.
In addition to pictures and interviews, guests were treated to to dinner catered by Michael’s on East and had the opportunity to participate in a silent auction for prizes such as a day on the set of a Paul Schiff film and a visit to the set of True Blood, which sold for $5500 and $4500 respectively.
Ringling College president Larry Thompson and his wife Pat never fail to impress with their Avant-Garde costumes, and this year was no different. They appeared as John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara from the 1963 western classic McClintock, and were greeted with a chorus of star-struck fans when they emerged from their trailer.
Other “celebrities” and characters who made an appearance on the red carpet included Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Marlene Dietrich, Katy Perry, several James Deans and Marilyn Monroes, Obi Wan Kenobi and Princess Leia, Captain Hook and Peter Pan, The Blues Brothers, Buzz Lightyear, Winnie the Pooh, Julius Caesar and Cleopatra.
Oscar-winning Ringling alumnus and Board of Trustees member Brandon Oldenburg showed up in a black stretch limousine accompanied by his wife and the Oscar statuette he won at the 84th Annual Academy Awards ceremony in February.
With approximately $80,000 raised and good times had by all who attended this year’s A-list Ringling fundraising event, Avant-Garde was, yet again, a tremendous success.