The 2009 “O What a Night,” gala fundraiser for the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, is inspired by the magnanimous gift of two works by artist Clementine Hunter from Dr. Jerry and Carolyn Fortino.

When Rita Benson LeBlanc, Jennifer Heebe and Frances Fayard (all co-chairs of this year’s event) got together with Todd Bagwell, an event designer from New York and New Orleans, they created the idea of designing the entire party around one of Clementine Hunter’s paintings.

What a great idea for your next party: Take one of your favorite paintings or pieces of art and plan your next soirée around it! Everything – from the invitation to the menu, to your flowers and music – can be tied to the artwork you’ve chosen.

Bagwell and his committee used the exquisite painting “Baptism,” by Clementine Hunter, as the catalyst. Invitations to the patrons were delivered in a small crate with clementines [oranges] nestled in green tissue paper, wrapped in green cellophane and tied with green twine. The invitation itself features the painting on its front. The tablecloths are yellow and feature centerpieces designed by Bagwell with shades of orange and yellow roses with fresh limes and oranges.

All lovers of Southern art and the Ogden Museum will be treated to live and silent auctions featuring the best of Southern art and music by noted southern musicians.

The seated dinner will feature cuisine from noted Charlestonian Robert Curter of the Peninsula Grill and Chef Warren Stephens of Calcasieu/Butcher.

There are two events associated with “O What a Night” and you don’t want to miss either! Our city is so blessed to have all of you who volunteer your time to make our institutions to the best they can be. A salute to LeBlanc, Heebe, Fayard and their committee for all of their hard work on behalf of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.