42nd annual Le Grand Bal

42nd annual Le Grand Bal

It’s a gala evening of art, fine dining, dancing and entertainment as Lamar University hosts the 42nd annual Le Grand Bal on Saturday, March 25. This year’s theme, “Lamar University in Black and White,” features a musical retrospective of LU through the decades. Guests are encouraged to dress in black and white. Activities include a silent art auction at the Dishman Art Museum, as well as a gourmet buffet, libations, music and dancing in the Montagne Center.

The silent auction and reception at the Dishman Art Museum will be held from 6-8 p.m. Guests will have the opportunity to bid on more than 200 pieces of original artwork by alumni, faculty, students and special friends of LU – a diverse range of original paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, ceramics and jewelry.

From 7 p.m. – midnight, the Montagne Center will host gourmet dining and dancing.

A sumptuous feast prepared under the direction of Stephen Gary Jr., executive chef at Lamar University, will make playful reference the night’s “black and white” theme while reflecting Gary’s main philosophy to always “go local, go quality and go seasonal.”

Appetizers include Texas tuna tartar; sushi-grade ahi tuna tossed with ginger, soy and teriyaki; a Mediterranean salad full of black olives and white feta cheese; and the Bal’s specialty and perennial favorite, jumbo Gulf boiled shrimp. Entrees are freshly carved, peppercorn-rubbed beef ribeye with choice of a classic demi-glace, mushroom ragout or béarnaise, and seared chicken picatta with meyer lemon and capers. Boursin cheese potato gratin, a grilled vegetable tower and homemade rolls round out the menu. The meal will end with a trio of Italian delights: local fresh gelato, mini cannoli and black and white cookies.

Entertainment at the Montagne Center will be provided by the LU Jazz Ensemble and Houston DJ Jason Farr. The ensemble will perform 20th-century music by decade, leading through the early years at LU. When Farr takes over, he will start playing music from the 1970s onward.

Le Grand Bal is the major annual fundraiser for the College of Fine Arts and Communication. Every year, the Le Grand Bal committee selects honorees to recognize for their contributions to the arts. This year’s event honors Melody and Pat Parsons. The Parsons have chaired and supported Le Grand Bal and the Friends of the Arts for many years, and Pat has been recognized as one of Lamar University’s Distinguished Alumni.

“The Parsons are true champions of the arts throughout Southeast Texas,” said Kim Steinhagen, Friends of the Arts board member and LU development officer. “They have been generous donors to LU, and we are thrilled to use this opportunity to honor and thank them.”

Given its focus on the arts, the Le Grand Bal committee also selects an artist honoree each year. This year, the event will celebrate the work of LU alumnus and painter Paul Manes. Manes is known for both figurative and abstract paintings, and his work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Currently, it can be seen in “Painting After Postmodernism,” which is in Brussels, Belgium, and will next travel to Malaga, Spain. His work can also be found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum of Art and Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

This year’s event is chaired by Albert Nolen, a Beaumont realtor, retired educator and Examiner columnist. 

Tickets are $200 per person, with underwriting opportunities available at levels ranging from $900 to $10,000. Call (409) 880-8137 to reserve tickets, or purchase them online at lamar.edu/arts.