During an average week, the Special Events department plans events for many different types of clients. We could have a corporate dinner one night, a Walmart department meeting the next day, and a wedding on the weekend. Between those events, we spend our time working with another, very important, group of clients—the other departments at the Museum. Our event staff works closely with Membership, Public Programs, Adult Programs, and many others to ensure that every event that happens at Crystal Bridges has the same polished look as our private client events.
There is definitely a difference in working with private clients versus our internal departments. When planning the décor for a private client event, we are often looking at a company’s preferred color palette or are asked for something seasonal—“We’d like a fall look.” Our internal events generally require much more intensive work in this area, as these departmetns frequently have well-thought out themes for each event. We can easily order table linens that coordinate with the decorating concept, but sometimes the finishing touches for these themed parties prove a little bit trickier. Luckily, a quick trip to every crafters favorite site, Pinterest, usually provides great inspiration.
For our recent Members Fall Fest, inspired by the Tom Otterness Makin’ Hay sculptures near our main drive, Special Events Assistant Manager Barbara McBride worked with our Membership and Advancement departments to plan an outdoor fall carnival. She brought in fall-colored linens in shades of orange, yellow, and brown, but wanted something unique for the entryway. Barbara cut triangle-shaped pennants out of burlap, and hand stenciled letters on them with paint to spell “Welcome Members!” The pennants were strung together with long strips of orange and yellow tartan fabric, making a banner to hang on the arch that served as the entrance to the event.
She also created special activities for the children who attended the event. For our Pumpkin Bowling lanes, Barbara spent weeks gathering empty 2-liter bottles from the staff here at the Museum. After washing them and using a hair dryer to remove the labels, she filled each one with a different color of paint. The paint was swirled around to coat the inside of the bottles completely. They were placed upside down to dry, as well as allow any excess paint to drain. At the party, the bottles were used as pins at the end of lanes made of hay. The kids took turns “bowling” small pumpkins to knock down as many as possible.
My favorite holiday is Halloween, so working on the artinfusion Halloween in the Hollow party was a natural fit for me. I was really inspired by Tim Burton when it came to decorating for the event. I found some great “Beetlejuice”-esque tablecloths on the internet, but wanted something special for the guest tables. I got small, plain votive holders at Hobby Lobby. I covered them with Mod Podge craft glue, and carefully wrapped stiff pieces of tall, black lace around them. With a battery-operated tea light candle inside each one (a total of 30), they lent a festive (and slightly spooky) feeling to the party.
For the month of December, we will be working with artinfusion on an “après-ski” winter themed party, and a Museum-wide New Year’s Eve bash. What crafty ideas will we come up with next?