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A Contemporary Touch

Video Exhibit, Armani and Martinis Attract Black-Clad Pack of Young Arts Backers

November 19, 1996|KATHRYN BOLD

With their eyes on the future, the Contemporaries--a group of mostly twenty- and thirtysomething arts patrons--staged their first fund-raising bash Saturday for the new Orange County Museum of Art.

Fast Forward was the theme of the cocktail party, video art exhibit and dance that drew more than 200 party-goers to Emporio Armani at South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa. The $45-per-person gala was expected to net about $25,000.

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Young Tastes

If the gala was any indication, Orange County's younger set likes to party by sipping martinis and wearing black.

The bash was designed to attract a new generation of patrons who will help ensure the museum's success in coming years.

"It's really important to attract young people to this organization--we're the next generation of support," said Kimberly Prado, event chairwoman, who attended with her husband, Ed. The newly formed museum support group seeks to get people in their 20s through early 40s involved by staging high-energy events catering to young tastes.

While enjoying their cocktails and Italian hors d'oeuvres prepared by the Armani Cafe, guests mingled inside the store and watched a screening of cutting-edge video art compiled by the museum's chief curator, Bruce Guenther. The video was spliced with clips from a runway show of the Emporio Armani fall/winter '96 collection.

Prado made a perfect real-life model for Emporio Armani. She began the evening wearing a slinky navy velvet gown, then switched to a short black cropped jacket and pants for dancing to the sounds of Common Sense. Other guests favored black in a variety of forms--leather jackets, denim jeans and short, tight minis.

"This group is well-educated and bright. They're rising stars-- that's who we want connected with the museum," said Chuck Martin, museum board chairman, who attended with his wife, Twyla. "A museum should be a fun place."

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New Era For Art

Many of those young faces will also turn up at the Orange County Museum of Art's official grand opening gala on Jan. 23 at its Newport Beach site.

Proceeds from Fast Forward will be used for exhibits and educational programs.

Guests included Jennifer Van Bergh, Robin McMonigle, Bill and Judy Steele, C.C. Estabrooks, Christian Knowles, Sam Olmstead, Debi Sommars, Dennis and Leslie Shannon, Alex Rousseau and Norma Molina.

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