Art in the Garden benefit set for Aug. 20

Rockford Art Museum (RAM) presents the debut of its summer benefit-gala, Art in the Garden, Saturday, Aug. 20. What a garden it is, and what a night it will be—more than 400 guests are expected to gather at La Paloma Gardens on Brookview Road in support of the museum.

La Paloma, the exquisite private garden cultivated by Karen and Ben Harding, serves as an elegant backdrop for the night’s festivities, which feature cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres at the piano bar, dining al fresco by renowned caterer George Jewell of Chicago, dancing under the moon and stars to music presented by the Ginger Tam Orchestra featuring Paul Marinaro, dazzling entertainment, and more.

A combination of more than 1,300 invitations will be delivered this week, either by hand (complete with daisies, in honor of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Daisy Buchanan) or by mail. In keeping with the 2005 theme, The Great Gatsby, deliveries will be made by costumed ladies or gentlemen emerging from a Bentley, conjuring images of the “Roaring ’20s.”

Art in the Garden will serve as an annual summertime fund-raiser for the museum. Presenting sponsors for the inaugural event include Richard Behr and his wife and Mrs. Ben Harding. Supporting sponsors are AMCORE Bank, Adams Letter Services, Bentley Northbrook, MainStay Funds, and Lady Wellness. Event patrons include Dr. and Mrs. Norm Hagman, Mr. and Mrs. Gary Jouris, Richard Nordlof, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Rhea, and Dr. and Mrs. David Stinson. Contributors are Women’s Art Board and Joan Davis.

Art in the Garden is open to the public. Cocktails begin at 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20, with dining at 8:30 p.m. Dress is formal Gatsby attire. Parking is by valet.

Tickets are $175 and may be purchased through the museum. Reservation deadline is Aug. 10, and seating is limited. To order tickets, or for more information, contact the museum at (815) 968-2787 or

From the Aug. 3-9, 2005, issue

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