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February 7th, 2012
Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to Host Annual Winter Gala in Celebration of Van Gogh Up Close

Philadelphia, PA (January 2012)—On Saturday, February 25, 2012, the Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art will host their Winter Gala in celebration of Van Gogh Up Close (February 1 – May 6, 2012). The black-tie reception, a much-anticipated annual event, will hold sway in the Museum’s Great Stair Hall and guests will have the opportunity to stroll and mingle in the Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries that contain the exhibition of van Gogh masterworks gathered together from around the world. All proceeds from the Winter Gala support the Museum’s art acquisitions, education programs, conservation initiatives, and special projects.

At 7:00 p.m., the evening will begin with a pre-gala V.I.P. reception and tour of the exhibition. Guests will receive a special gift bag including products by Suuthe, Clarins, and Metropolitan Bakery, and have access to a V.I.P. lounge decorated by Saks Fifth Avenue.

At 8:00 p.m. the main gala kicks off. Music will fill the Great Stair Hall as guests take to the dance floor.  Between turns, guests may place bids in a silent auction featuring a diamond beaded rope bracelet from the Derby collection by LAGOS and test their luck on raffle prizes including a helicopter ride, ballet tickets, circus school classes, and a dinner cruise.    

Event sponsors include DiD, Saks Fifth Avenue, Ernst & Young LLP, and Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP.

The Young Friends Winter Gala has over 50 committee members. Gala co-chairs are Nicole Johnson and Julia Sherwood Murphy.

Murphy is a law librarian at Stradley Ronon in Center City and resides in Philadelphia. “It is a pleasure to work with the Young Friends, an organization of over 450 members who believe that the arts are the keystone in any vibrant community,” comments Murphy, who joined the Young Friends in 2009 and became a member of the Executive Board two years later. “This group has been integral in making the arts both more visible and more accessible, and I could not be more proud to be part of such a great mission and team.”

Johnson adds, "I am thrilled to co-chair such a wonderful gala. It is a rare opportunity and a true honor to showcase so many of van Gogh’s great works—all while hosting a fantastic party.” Johnson joined the Young Friends in 2005 and has been on the Executive Board since 2009. A resident of Montgomery County, she is a Project Manager at McKissack & McKissack, the oldest women/minority-owned professional design and construction firm in the United States. “It is inspiring to think that our group, mostly comprised of young professionals in their early to late twenties, devote their time, energy, and talents to creating events that support Philadelphia’s cultural landscape.”

Van Gogh Up Close presents some of the artist’s most daring and innovative still lifes and landscapes that have never been seen together and contributed to altering the course of modern painting. The exhibition features 46 paintings van Gogh made in Paris, Arles, Saint-Rémy, and Auvers that concentrate on “close-ups” of flowers, trees, open fields, forest interiors, and countryside vistas.

In honor of van Gogh’s passion for nature and exuberant color palette, a floral décor by Teleflora will transform the Museum’s Great Stair Hall.  STARR Catering will offer libations including a specialty blood orange cosmopolitan comprised of Vodka, triple sec, lime juice, and blood orange puree, as well sumptuous appetizers.

About The Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Young Friends is a premier group of art lovers, ages 21 and over, committed to supporting the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Through a variety of engaging social events, educational programs, and volunteer opportunities in conjunction with the Museum and its world-renowned collections, these members are the next generation in the Philadelphia area supporting arts and culture.

Saturday, February 25, 2012
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Complimentary parking
Catering by Stephen STARR Events

Gala Tickets
$175 per person
$125 per Young Friends member

$150 per person for groups of four or more people

$275 per person
$225 per Young Friends member

Purchase tickets at or call (215) 235-SHOW . RSVP by February 17, 2012. All guests must be at least 21 years of age.

For the event invitation, please visit:

Press interested in covering the event should contact Gigi Lamm at 215-684-7869 or

Social Media
Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Tumblr/YouTube: @philamuseum

We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art phone at 215-684-7860, by fax at 215-235-0050, or by e-mail at The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100.

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