AMSET Crystal Ball honors Beaumont sculptor, features first-class music

AMSET Crystal Ball honors Beaumont sculptor, features first-class music

The Art Museum of Southeast Texas (AMSET) invites Southeast Texans to shine like precious jewels at its 27th anniversary gala, The Crystal Ball: A Night of Sparkling Entertainment.

This dazzling affair, set for 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5, will be overflowing with cocktails, delectable dining, fabulous entertainment and many spectacular surprises.

The Crystal Ball will honor celebrated sculptor and supporter of the arts David Cargill.

“I really appreciate the thought,” Cargill told The Examiner. “It just means they’ve been aware of some of the things that I have been doing in the town. I’ve enjoyed my life and what I’ve been doing. I’m just grateful that somebody has seen it.”

To say that Cargill’s sculptures have merely been seen is an understatement from a humble Southeast Texas artist. Cargill’s works are both unique and exquisite designs that decorate everyday places Southeast Texas frequent and contain visual elements that juxtapose both the abstract and objective. His works are made from a variety of materials including wood, marble, terra cotta, stone, lead and bronze, and are remarkable in their spiritual and expressive qualities.

“He is a lifetime artist here who is known nationwide. It is only fitting and appropriate that his home express this jewel of AMSET and pay homage to this man. This gala … gives Southeast Texans a chance to celebrate his life and work … while most importantly, supporting their local museum,” said Gala 2014 Chair Albert Nolen. “We as a community should be so proud that we have such an artist in our midst.”

Preparation to make the event special for both Cargill and all attending guests has been the mission of Nolen, and underwriting chairs for the event Sandy and Joseph Fertitta.

“We’re very excited and hopeful that the gala will be one of the best,” Sandy Fertitta said.

“When you’re doing these … functions — if you get the right people involved — time seems to just go by pretty quickly. It has been a fun experience. The people that have been working with us have been very, very organized and have been very on-point,” Joseph Fertitta added.

Joseph and Sandy said they are extremely excited about having the opportunity to honor Cargill and his extraordinary artwork.

“I don’t think people realize how fortunate Beaumont has been to have such a renowned artist as Mr. Cargill,” Joseph said. “I don’t even know how to describe the magnificence of this man as a sculptor, as an artist. We’ve got a diamond. We’ve got a gem in this community. You can go to all the different places where he has left his trademark sculptures, and it is just a fascinating experience to say that he is part of Beaumont and of Southeast Texas.”

Sandy and Joseph said every time they attend Sunday service at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church, they can’t help but marvel at Cargill’s work in the church’s sanctuary.

David did the entire interior stained glass and the altar artwork,” Joseph said, “I find myself just looking at this stained glass, thinking, ‘How did David do that?’”

And if the chance to honor such a talented local artist isn’t enough reason to attend, there will be plenty of refreshments and entertainment at the gala as well.

Cocktail hour will begin at 6:30 p.m. followed by a three-course dinner served at 7:30 p.m. in the museum’s galleries. Prepared by Bando’s Catering, the dinner menu will feature a tantalizing selection of the finest cuisine.

“We are showcasing vodkas,” Nolen said. “That is going to be our main drink. We are going to have ice sculpture vodka bars.”

Following dinner, guests are invited to glide the night away to the cool, jazzy sounds of another Southeast Texas diamond, Jimmy Simmons, accompanied by famed vocalist Sharon Montgomery.

“We’re really excited to have both of them,” said Monique Sennet, public relations coordinator at AMSET. “She is a well-known singer, and we are very excited to have her and especially locally, everyone knows Jimmy Simmons and his band. We’re really excited to have him. He always draws a great crowd and really ups the spirit and gets people going, dancing and celebrating, and that’s really what we want — for everyone and their friends to get together and have fun.”

Montgomery, a native of Nederland, has performed a variety of music over her career —performing everything from swamp trash R&B to jazz and swing. Venues have ranged from behind chicken wire on the stage of a honkytonk to the stage at Carnegie Hall with Mel Torme. Montgomery said she is looking forward to performing at the AMSET gala.

“It’s going to be incredible,” Montgomery told The Examiner. “We do so many of the big galas here in Houston … the Symphony Ball, the Opera Ball, the Theatre Under the Stars gala, the Mercury gala. I’ve done a lot of those things. Nothing compares with playing a gala in Beaumont. The difference is that people in Beaumont love to party. People kick it up a notch … and really enjoy themselves. I love the Golden Triangle. I’m proud of being from the Golden Triangle. We’ve always had incredible music.”

Montgomery said it is always a special and memorable moment when she and Simmons take the stage together, adding that Simmons isn’t your average musician.

“All you have to do is know Jimmy Simmons, and you know his personality comes through in the music that he plays,” Montgomery said. “He’s got a great big heart. That comes through in the music that he plays. He cares about people in general, and I think that everybody that really has a gift for music has that gift because they recognize that music heals people. He is really an incredible human, and that is what makes his music so special. He has taken everything he has lived and every person that he has met — that all flavors the sound of the music that comes out of that saxophone.”

There will be many extraordinary auction items at the gala as well as featured in a silent auction orchestrated by Judith O. Black. The auction will contain priceless artwork, beautiful jewelry and other tempting items to top off this glitzy occasion.

Auction items include a Crystal Skull vodka bottle autographed by Dan Aykroyd and John Alexander, artwork by Karin Broker and David Gibson, a Rancho Caribe beach house at Crystal Beach, premium vodka baskets, and a children’s Frozen movie party.

Honorary Chair Joy Crenshaw will also be recognized at the event.

Reservations for the Crystal Ball are $200 per person for Individual Cubic Zirconia unreserved seating; $1,200 for Amber Diamond reserved seating for six; $1,600 for Green Diamond reserved seating for eight; $2,500 for a Yellow Diamond table for reserved seating for eight; $5,000 for a White Diamond table for Marquis reserved seating for eight; $10,000 for a Pink Diamond table for Premium reserved seating for eight, or $15,000 for a Blue Diamond table for Brilliant reserved seating for 10.

Dress is black tie, so grab your diamond tiaras sequined gowns and brilliant cut tuxedos, and adorn yourself with all things that sparkle for this fabulous affair, where diamonds really are your best friend. Proceeds will support AMSET’s exhibition and education programs.

“All the proceeds go to our exhibition and education programs,” Sennet said. “Here at AMSET — of course, we are a nonprofit — we have so many great programs for the community that are free. We have free admission, and most of the activities that we have are free for the community. By your coming to the Crystal Ball, you help give back to make those things possible.

“The mission of The Art Museum is to provide education, inspiration and creative vision throughout Southeast Texas,” Sandy Fertitta added. “When you have a cause like that, you want to become involved because of what it does for our community. The Art Museum reaches thousands of area children and adults annually. It’s just massive what they do in this community. It touches my heart when you have such a cause and you can give back in some kind of small way.”

Seating is limited. Visit or call (409) 832-3432 to reserve your table.