The Walters Annual Gala 2018: A Photo Essay by Jill Fannon

On Saturday, October 14, The Walters Art Museum hosted their annual gala and after party in sumptuous galleries and sculpture court. It started out with a formal dinner in galleries throughout the museum and, after, guests entered the sculpture court through grand staircases to drink, dance, and socialize. The theme this year was metamorphosis, so there were a few inspired wardrobe decisions involving butterfly wings and wood nymph-like headdresses, although most guests went for full-on glam, with floor length gowns, tuxedos, and sequins sequins everywhere. One honored guest and fashion outlier was Baltimore-based fashion designer Bishme Cromartie, who designed a fabulous pantsuit, complete with a cape, for Walters Director Julia Marciari-Alexander and wore his own metallic leather harness riff on a fanny pack.

According to the museum, “the annual event provides major funding for the Walters’ innovative education and exhibition programming and supports free admission for all. Every year, the Walters benefits over 150,000 people, including over 70,000 visitors who participate in education programs and 40,000 PreK–12 students and teachers. The Gala provides vital unrestricted support that is more important now than ever before to ensure all people in our community can connect with art and the humanities.”

We were thrilled to join in the fun this year and even more excited to share the images that photographer Jill Fannon captured that night. While some come off as traditional “fancy party” photos, when you look closer there are so many private stories unfolding… some romantic and others absurd… presenting the event as multifaceted and unique as parties actually are. Regardless of the mood captured, Fannon’s rendering of this opulent space is apt; brimming with rich texture and color, as a gala should. (C.O.)