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15th Annual El Museo del Barrio
Ball at Cipriani on 42nd Street
A Quinceañero Themed Ball
May 22, 2008

Written by Wendy R. Williams
Photo Credit: Patrick McMullan

Opposite Photo:
Gala Co-Chairs
Isabel and Ruben Toledo


The Scene at Cipriani

El Museo del Barrio hosted its 15th Annual Gall on Thursday, May 22, 2008. And in a charming correlation with the 15th anniversary of the ball, the gala was styled as a Quinceañero, a traditional fifteenth birthday celebration for a young lady of Spanish descent. Ball co-chair Yaz Hernandez and the junior ball chairs (Jana Pasquel, Samantha Thompson, and Luisana Mendoza) plus many of the other fashionable women in attendance wore white gowns and tiaras in honor of the gala’s quinceañero theme.

Gala Co-Chairs Valentin and Yaz Hernandez

The ball was held at Cipriani on 42nd. Street, a bastion of old world opulence which provided an proper background for the elegance of New York City’s Spanish society. As the evening began, cocktails were served in the reception hall as Gala chairmen Ruben and Isabel Toledo and Yaz and Valentín Hernández greeted the evening’s honorees, novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, Angel Collado-Schwarz, and former Ambassador Paul Cejas.

Adding to the festivities were the many celebrities in attendance. Present from the world of fashion were: Gustavo Arango; Francisco Costa; Christian Cota; Maria Cornejo; Nicole Miller; Agatha Ruiz de la Prada; Narciso Rodriguez; and Angel Sanchez. Other notable guests included: Fabiola Bercasa; Romero Britto; Simon Doonan; Ambassador John Loeb; Assemblyman Adam C. Powell; Jackie Weld; Candy Pratts Price; Sylvana Soto-Ward; Sarah Wolfe; Whitney Wolfe; and more. Additional sparkle and fun were supplied by the presence of Miss Teen USA Hilary Cruz and Miss USA Crystle Stewart.

Here is a quote from the press release about a wonderful surprise that was announced at the ball: “The gala had already raised over $850,000 when the museum board president Carmen Ana Unanue announced that she and the Unanue family were contributing an additional $3 million to El Museo’s expansion campaign. El Museo Director Julian Zugazagoitia and Chairman Tony Bechara were the first to rise from their seats to applaud her generous donation, and the entire room followed suit with a standing ovation as her son, Andy Unanue, spoke on her behalf.”

Andy Unanue

Museum Benefactress Carmen Unanue

And another quote from the press release about the history of the museum: “El Museo del Barrio was founded in 1969, and is New York’s leading Latino cultural institution, representing the diversity of art and culture in all of the Caribbean and Latin America. El Museo has had a significant impact on New York’s culture, and is a major stop on Manhattan’s Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue. Currently El Museo is undergoing a $22 million-dollar facelift, which will be completed in fall 2009.”

The evening was a smashing success, with over five hundred and forty guests in attendance. Bravo to El Museo for another successful and stunning ball. Be sure to include El Museo in your trips to Manhattan's Museum Mile. El Museo boasts an eclectic collection of art, has a young friendly staff and a charming gift shop.

Fashion Designer Francisco Costa & Dora Beatriz Cortes Stoudemire

Fashion Designer Angel Sanchez Dances With Alexis Clarke

Dr. Mario Vargas Llosa, Ambassador Paul L. Cejas & Trudy Cejas Maria Cornejo and Fashion Designer
Narciso Rodriguez
Fabiola Beracasa & Carlos Mota Fashion Designer Christian Cota
Miss Teen USA Hilary Cruz, Yaz Hernandez & Miss USA Crystle Stewart

Maria Eugenia Arria and Karina Arria

Agatha Ruiz de la Prada Angel Collado-Schwarz &
Artist Tony Bechara
Style Icon Simon Doonan Artist Romero Britto & Fashion Designer Nicole Miller
Jana Pasquel &Fashion Designer
Christian Cota
Luisana Mendoza
Fashion Designer Gustavo Arango & Christine Cachot El Museo Director Julian Zugazagoitia & Tasha Zugazagoitia

Miss USA Crystle Stewart , Richard Turley & Gillian Miniter



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