Arts and Entertainment

Come Get Entangled with the Palmer: Museum's vibrant annual gala set for May 18

The Palmer Museum of Art's annual gala and auction is set for 6:30 p.m. to midnight May 18 at the Nittany Lion Inn. Credit: SAW PhotographyAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Tickets are still on sale for the Friends of the Palmer Museum of Art's annual gala and auction, set for 6:30 p.m. to midnight on Friday, May 18, at the Nittany Lion Inn. This year’s theme, “Come Get Entangled with the Palmer,” is entwined as a whimsical nod to "Plastic Entanglements: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials," the thought-provoking blockbuster exhibition currently on view at the museum through June 17.

Guests will enjoy an elegant evening complete with dinner, dancing, and silent and live auctions orchestrated by entertaining master of ceremonies Jeff Brown. Later in the evening, the ballroom dance floor will beckon as the high-energy Bachelor Boys Band takes the stage.

“The gala brings the community together because of their shared love for art and that of the Palmer Museum,” said Rebecca Cianci, president of the Palmer Museum Friends Board of Directors. “It is a unique and special event that is close to my heart. Moreover, we are proud to incorporate the theme this year around the 'Plastic Entanglements' exhibition.

Special guests will include honorary Penn State co-chairs Sandy Barbour and Barbara Korner. Barbour, director of athletics, was recently ranked No. 13 on Forbes Magazine’s list of the most powerful women in American sports. Korner, dean of the College of Arts and Architecture since 2007, is a national leader of arts in higher education and recently announced her retirement for June 2019.

Sponsors of this year’s gala include Shute Battaglia Wealth Advisors, Driscoll Automotive Group, and the Penn State Alumni Association.

“The gala is not only the most artistic social event of the season, but it’s a great way to support the Palmer Museum of Art,” said Erin Coe, the museum's director. “Proceeds from the event are central to the museum’s curatorial and educational programming, while also supporting the museum’s broader mission of service to students here at Penn State.”

For the gala’s elaborate menu, the Friends of the Palmer Museum of Art have selected an eclectic mix of hors d’oeuvres and entrees. The dessert will be an extravagant meringue pavlova, done as an homage to Aurora Robson’s glittering and ephemeral “Isla,” one of the mixed-plastic sculptures currently on display at the Palmer.

Auction items include a Hawaiian vacation package, dining experiences, jewelry, and a dazzling array of artwork, including works by artists featured in the exhibition "Plastic Entanglements."

All are invited to attend the benefit event. Tickets are $195 per person and include an $80 tax-deduction donation; preregistration and payment are required. All proceeds benefit the Palmer Museum of Art, providing funding for the free-admission museum’s complimentary public lectures, gallery talks, musical performances, poetry readings, workshops, films, and docent-led tours for school and community groups, as well as sustaining the vital, arts-resource institution for the community and those who visit.

Dress is cocktail chic, and — to fit the Plastic Entanglements theme — creative clothing repurposing is encouraged.

Becoming a friend, or member, of the Palmer Museum of Art directly supports the organization and contributes to its educational impact. Membership may be purchased for as little as $35 a year and includes the following benefits: a newsletter and calendar of events, published tri-annually; a 10 percent discount on most items at the museum store; invitations to members-only events, such as opening exhibition receptions; an invitation to the Friends’ Purchase Party and annual meeting; and an invitation to the Friends’ annual Holiday Art and Ornament Sale preview reception.

For more information about this year’s gala, contact Heide A. Port at 814-865-7673 or

Last Updated April 24, 2018