Masterpiece 17 Gala at the Art Institute






Chicago legends, CEOs, and bright young things danced well into the night in Millennium Park to the sounds of Eryn Allen Kane at Masterpiece 17’s after party.


Eryn Allen Kane performs for the crowd. Photo by Jeff Ellis.


A specialty cocktail in the works at the after party. Photo by Bob Kusel.

Sampling sliders and milkshakes from Shake Shack, cycladic muses, and other clever cocktails by acclaimed mixologist Julie Momose, the 400 guests there that evening updated a concept from the Art Institute of Chicago’s past to celebrate the museum’s iconic collection. The gala began with a reception for major donors in the American Wing’s sculpture garden—never before used for an event—continued into Griffin Court, and then moved across to the street to an opulent tent, alive with magenta and fuchsia lighting and decor.


Host Committee reception. Photo by Bob Kusel.


Jay Krehbiel and Meredith Bluhm-Wolf, Masterpiece 17 co-chairs. Photo by Bob Kusel.

Board of Trustees member and Masterpiece 17 co-chair, Jay Krehbiel, reported:

My co-chair, Meredith Bluhm-Wolf, who is a member of the Women’s Board, and I are so grateful that the entire Art Institute family rallied to make the event a success—both a fun evening and a productive one: over $3 million was raised.  

“Masterpiece 17 will provide critical funds to support the museum’s ongoing operations, and surpassing the goal as we did—an ambitious goal—really shows the depth and commitment that is in our community for what is Chicago’s greatest cultural institution.”

Art Institute President, James Rondeau, welcomed guests to what will become an annual gala. He recently described the re-invention of the Masterpiece Ball:

“We want to celebrate all of the Art Institute from antiquity to the present. We are shifting from an events-based fundraising approach where we celebrated every opening with a party. The original Masterpiece Balls did just that, focusing on our entire iconic collections.”


Jay Krehbiel, James Rondeau, Silvia Krehbiel, and Igor DaCosta. Photo by Bob Kusel.

A colleague of Chance the Rapper who once sang with Prince, Eryn Allen Kane introduced one of her original songs over dinner in the candlelit tent, then pointed to a curtained area alive with bright lights and beckoned guests to join her there after the meal.


The after party, buzzing with energy. Photo by Bob Kusel.

Jay Krehbiel reports:

“We were really excited to have Eryn perform—she was fantastic and just drew everyone in with her amazing voice and energy.

“I also want to thank everyone who worked so hard to make the evening a success, including the entire team at the Art Institute, but especially Eve Jeffers, Stephanie Henderson and Mary Hayes, Pat Hurley and her team, Paulette Wolf, and Bill Heffernan and his team. A lot of people put in lots of hours to make this event come together, and we are really grateful.

“And of course, thank you to my amazing co-chair Meredith Bluhm-Wolf, who was such fun to work with, and brought such great new ideas and energy to the whole night—the best.”


Shirley and Patrick Ryan; Gloria Groom, of the Art Institute; and Nancy Santi. Photo by Bob Kusel.

Shirley and Pat Ryan served as Masterpiece 17 Honorary Chairs.


Steve McQueen and Ann Goldstein. Photo by Bob Kusel.


Andy Rosenfield, Caryn Harris, Tom Pritzker, Jim Gordon, and King Harris. Photo by Bob Kusel.


Chris and Anne Reyes, Barbara Bluhm-Kaul, and Don Kaul. Photo by Bob Kusel.


Craig and Janet Duchossois with Anita and Prabha Sinha. Photo by Jeff Ellis.


Richard and Ellen Sandor. Photo by Bob Kusel.


Guest enjoying dinner in Millennium Park. Photo by Jeff Ellis.


Tom and Margot Pritzker. Photo by Bob Kusel.


Darrel and Nickol Hackett with Byron and Sedra Spruell. Photo by Bob Kusel.


Amy Bluhm, Barbara Bluhm-Kaul, Meredith Bluhm-Wolf, Leslie Bluhm, Neil Bluhm, and Andrew Bluhm. Photo by Bob Kusel.