Renaissance Ball Takes Italian Them in Art Deco Lobby

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An Italian Gala is the way they're describing this year's Renaissance Ball, scheduled Sept. 21 to benefit the Oklahoma City Art Museum. Since its inception, the annual Renaissance Ball has been held at the museum's Nichols Hills location, the elegant mansion which formerly was the home of the late Mr. and Mrs. Frank Buttram. This palatial home-turned-art-museum now is closed and for sale.

The Oklahoma City Art Museum, housed at State Fair Park, has been seeking a new location. Among the sites at which they have looked is the ornate lobby of the First National Bank Building downtown. And that's exactly where the 1995 Renaissance Ball will take place.

The historic art deco lobby will make an appropriately elegant location for this black-tie dinner and dance. The Left Bank Society Orchestra from Dallas will provide dance music, a blend from "Miller to Motown."

Chairing this year's ball are arts advocates Mrs. John McCaleb and Mrs. Phil Swyden. Honorary chairman is Ann Simmons Alspaugh and patron chairman is Mrs. William Liedtke.

Invitations to the Renaissance Ball will go out in August. Additional information is available from OCAM, 3113 Pershing Blvd., Oklahoma City 73107.

What a relief it will be to the ball committee to have this party indoors. For the first 19 years, when the party took place out of doors, the ladies always had to worry about alternate locations and dates in case of inclement weather. My memory isn't what it used to be, but I think only twice in those 19 years was it held some place other than the mansion in Nichols Hills. Leadership Square was the alternate site both times. . . Way last year, the date set for the Odyssey '95 Gala _ a benefit for the Oklahoma City Philharmonic _ was Sept. 30. Then Howard Schnellenberger, new coach of the University of Oklahoma football team, decided to play that day's football game in the evening under the lights. The team, of course, is Colorado.

John Frank and Alice Pippin, co-chairs of Odyssey, an every-other-year benefit, decided not to compete with the Sooners and Colorado. They and the committee looked for another date for their traditional black-tie gala.

The good news: a wonderful opportunity came along for them to host a special event for the orchestra. The bad news: the new date is Sept. 20, the night before the Renaissance Ball.

This new date is carved in stone, so mark the calendars and don't spill anything on your tuxes Wednesday night because you'll have to wear them again on Thursday night. That goes for party dresses, too.

Obviously, both the Oklahoma City Art Museum and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic are worthy causes. …