With the recent addition of three paintings by Clementine Hunter to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s collection, the folk artist was the muse at the museum’s “O What a Night Gala” on October 17. Leading art supporters on this Southern art adventure were co-chairs Frances Fayard, Jennifer Heebe and Rita Benson LeBlanc. Frances Fayard and her husband Calvin Fayard, hosted the Auction Preview Party at their lovely St. Charles Avenue home the night before.

The evening commenced with a silent auction at the museum’s Patrick F. Taylor Library. More than 40 works by Southern artists intrigued bidders who also enjoyed treats by Chef Warren Stephens of Calcasieu/Butcher and a delicious “O What a Cocktail” created just for the event by Cure. Music by Danon Smith entertained the crowd.

Afterwards, gala-goers were led by the gospel stylings of Betty Winn and One-A-Chord to dinner and the live auction under a tent by the museum’s Goldring Hall. Irvin Mayfield performed before the live auction and dinner. Sought-after pieces in the live auction – manned by Swann Auction Galleries’ Nicholas Lowry – were by artists John Alexander, David Bates, William Dunlap, Clementine Hunter, Herb Jackson, Sally Mann, Ed McGowin, Hunt Slonem, Alexander Stolin and James Surls. For dinner, Chef Robert Carter of the Peninsula Grill in Charleston, S.C. created his own version of Southern culinary art for an eager audience.

The museum’s Opus Award was given to R. Philip Hanes of North Carolina for his philanthropy and longstanding support of the national arts community. The evening ended with joyful music and dancing to music by Wardell Quezergue’s Big Band with special guests Al “Carnival Time” Johnson and Robert Parker.