Along with revealing several recent acquisitions to those in attendance, the benefit's highlights will include silent and live auctions, a gourmet meal and a presentation of the museum's Lifetime Achievement Award to artist Kenneth Riley. A sought-after illustrator after his service in World War II, Riley made the successful transition to Western art in the 1970s, later receiving the Eiteljorg Museum Award of Excellence in 1993 and the Prix de West Award in 1995.
"We are excited about our second-annual gala and the opportunity to recognize Ken Riley for his outstanding work," said Booth Executive Director Seth Hopkins in a press release. "In addition to the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award and the auctions, guests of the gala will enjoy a gourmet dinner, live music and a cocktail reception with the opportunity to view the newly acquired pieces of art in our permanent collection.
"Since the first gala last fall, we have added a number of significant works to our galleries. Everyone in attendance this year is sure to see something new, including several new pieces which will be unveiled just prior to the Journey West Gala."
On Aug. 21, the gala will begin at 5 p.m. with cocktails, light hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction and the unveiling of some of the newest artwork in the Booth collection. Afterward, guests will be treated to a gourmet meal and live art auction in the Booth Ballroom, at which time Riley will be presented the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Serving as the Booth's largest fundraiser, the proceeds will go toward the museum's operating budget and enable the venue to secure significant exhibitions like "Ansel Adams: A Legacy," a temporary photography exhibit scheduled from Sept. 25 to Feb. 20, 2010.
"Those exhibits are very expensive to bring in," Booth Director of Development Tom Roberson said. "So what these kinds of revenue do [is] it allows us to have the revenue to bring in and continue to grow bigger and more attractive exhibitions in addition to continuing to add permanent art to our permanent collection. So it doesn't all just go to keep the lights on."
Spanning two nights, last year's gala raised more than $100,000 and drew about 400 people. The event was in conjunction with the opening of the Booth's 40,000-square-foot wing, which doubled the facility's gallery space and garnered the museum the largest permanent exhibition of Western art in the country. The two-story structure has allowed the Booth -- a Smithsonian affiliate since 2006 -- to expand its permanent collection galleries and offer a multi-purpose area for the museum and the community.
Located at 501 Museum Drive in Cartersville, the museum averages 45,000 visitors a year.
A key part of the Journey West Gala's success, Roberson said, will be its auctions, which will feature more than 50 art pieces ranging from paintings to sculptures.
"We're a Western art museum and we concentrate on living artists doing Western work," Roberson said. "What that has allowed us to do is for those kind of events like the gala in particular, we reach out to the artists that we have some of their pieces in our permanent collection as well as people that are known that know about the Booth and want to support the Booth. So these artists are very forthcoming with original art that they do.
"So we have over 50 pieces of original art available to us that will be a part of the silent and live auctions. That's amazing to be able to have that caliber and those works are very good. As a matter of fact if you go to the website [www.boothmuseum.org] and take a look, I think you'll agree that there are some superior pieces. Last year we set a good precedent. We had some pieces that sold for as much as $25,000."
Tickets for the gala are $150 per person. To attend, individuals need to call Lynn Tatum at 770-387-1541 to RSVP by Friday.
For those not able to attend the benefit, Roberson said there will be a bevy of engaging offerings in the coming months. Presently, the public can view the photography exhibit "Four Seasons in Yellowstone: Photographs by Tom Murphy" through Sept. 12; and the Biennial Member, Staff and Volunteer Art Exhibit until Oct. 3. Other highlights will include the Dinner Theatre show "Bullets & Ballads" Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. and the temporary exhibit of Ansel Adams' photographs starting in September.