Recap: 2017 Anniversary Gala for National Museum of Women in the Arts

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Artists, socialites, and D.C. powerbrokers gathered April 21 for the National Museum of Women in the Arts 30th anniversary gala.

The black-tie event is the biggest annual fundraiser for the museum’s programming and exhibitions. The museum showcases female artists–visual, literary and performing–from around the world.

Chairwomen of the event were Amy Baier, Kristin Cecchi, Jamie Dorros, and board president Cindy Jones.

A gallery reception, dinner, and dancing
Guests enjoyed a reception, auction, and cocktails in the museum’s top floor, and then enjoyed dinner and danced until midnight. An art installation by Maggie O’Neill, “Live in Color,” brightened the scene. Drenched in pastel stripes, it re-created a dressing room with a stripe-clad Jane Merkel surveying the crowd.

Guests mingle for a cause
The guest list included Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and his wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts; D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser; Fox News’ Bret Baier (whose wife, Amy, was an event co-chair); D.C. Council Member Jack Evans; British Ambassador Kim Darroch; United Arab Emirates Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba (; CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash; and CBS’s Norah O’Donnell.

For 30 years, a spotlight on women
The National Museum of Women in the Arts’ website says the museum grew from an idea of collectors Wilhelmina Cole Holladay and Wallace F. Holladay: “Where are all the women artists?” They have not been in the galleries: Fewer than 4 percent of artists in the Modern Art section of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art are female. Nor have they been at auctions; of the top 100 works sold 2011 through 2016, only two were by female artists.

To fill that void, work began toward a women’s museum. In spring 1987, the National Museum of Arts opened a permanent location in a Washington landmark building near the White House.
Upcoming summer 2017 events will include a reprise of its “Fierce Women” tour, which focuses on women who defied social and cultural norms to have their say and make their mark, and the special exhibition “Revival,” which will spotlight female artists as catalysts for change.

Fast facts
The National Museum of Women in the Arts ( is at the corner of New York Avenue and 13th Street Northwest, in Washington, D.C. Tickets are $8 to $10, with the first Sunday of each month free to all. For details: 202-783-5000 or 1-800-222-7270.