Unusual times call for creative thinking and collaboration. These skills were paramount this past spring when COVID-19 closed both Kaleideum locations and put a stop to large gatherings, thus halting Kaleideum’s primary fundraiser: The Kaleidoscope Ball.
“The Kaleidoscope Ball is our largest fundraiser each year with funds going to our annual fund, which directly supports Kaleideum’s mission-based programming and exhibits,” says Elizabeth Dampier, Kaleideum’s Executive Director.
The original ball was scheduled in late March as a 300-person gathering with dinner, music, silent and live auctions, and more. “We knew the traditional event wasn’t going to be possible, so we brainstormed with our Board of Directors and our committee members to figure out what would work best,” says Mimi Bennett, Director of the Annual Fund.
The end result was a seven-day Virtual Kaleidoscope Ball with videos, social media posts, and e-mails each day that highlighted silent auction items, a raffle for a lifetime membership, and a long-time favorite: The Whiskey Wall, a fixed-price purchase option that sold out in the first two days.
“The event started on a Sunday, and there was a lot of bidding at the beginning of the week,” Bennett says. “Things slowed down a little and then picked up again at the end of the week, culminating in some frantic bidding on Saturday evening. Some people who had watched and waited all week swooped in at the last minute and got their items!”
The co-chairs for this year’s event were Lisa and John Boisture and Bethany and Houston Symmes. The Honorary Chairs were Marie and Guy Arcuri. With the virtual ball allowing people to log in from their armchairs at home, more people were able to participate in the Kaleidoscope Ball; in fact, more than 330 people registered for the weeklong event. “Many people made it a point to tell me that they liked the virtual format, and it allowed them to get their children involved,” Bennett says.
While the planning and execution of the Virtual Kaleidoscope Ball was fun, the Kaleideum team is looking forward to returning to a new normal. “Covid has had a significant impact on Kaleideum. The museum has been closed since March 15, and our earned income from admission, memberships, and events has been dramatically reduced during our busiest season,” says Elizabeth Dampier, Executive Director. “The team had to pivot very quickly to providing virtual experiences during the closure while simultaneously preparing our reopening plan that included increased cleaning and sanitation, as well as new policies and procedures for day camps and regular visitation. Community support matters more than ever now, and we are so happy that the Virtual Kaleidoscope Ball proved to be a success.”
Special Thanks to the Kaleidsocope Ball Committee and Board Members and volunteers who helped make this a successful event.
Be sure to save the date for next year’s Kaleidoscope Ball,
April 30th, 2021