CHICAGO – Friends and members of the Greek-American community showed their support for culture and the arts at the National Hellenic Museum’s annual gala held May 1 at The Geraghty.
The lively event, whose theme was Projecting into the Future, included dinner, a live auction, live entertainment, and dancing in celebration of the Hellenic legacy.
The philanthropic support gathered during the evening will benefit tens of thousands of visitors, including schoolchildren and families who attend the field trips, community events, and programs at the museum every year, a Museum spokesperson said.
The event was emceed by former Flipping Out star, Jenni Pulos, who donated a painting from her nephew, artist Nicholas Kontaxis, to the Museum. The evening was enhanced by the live musical performances of Manhattan and the Chris Sarlas Orchestra featuring Nick Lambrinatos and Voula Karahaliou.
“What a brilliant night it was with a great emcee, so many amazing attendees, spectacular live music, and of course, the great generosity of our donors,” said NHM President Dr. Laura Calamos. “The dance floor was full, and dancing continued as the last song was sung.”
Founder and Chairman of Grecian Delight Foods, Peter Parthenis Sr., was recognized for his commitment to the National Hellenic Museum. “We are thrilled that Peter Parthenis, Jr. was able to join us in honoring his father, through a moving dedication depicting the path of this enterprising Greek-American family,” Calamos said, adding, “The Museum is lucky to have a shining example from our wide community of support.”
Attendees were charmed to discover the evening’s décor paid tribute to Hellenic history. Large prints of vintage photos from the museum’s very own archive hung from the ceiling, depicting snapshots of the Greek community of the past – children posing for a class photo, members of the Greek army, a Greek Independence Day parade, a wedding photo, Greek dancing, and more.
“The ambiance was breathtaking,” said Lea Petrovas, an attendee. “They shared large black and white authentic photos of Greek-American families from different generations throughout the space, which really brought stories to life!”
Calamos said, “We were excited to show the ongoing work the Museum does to protect, catalog, and preserve the historical archives that represent the Greek American experience. This was an impactful way to highlight our important work as a museum.”
The night’s auction included gifts and experiences including cooking classes with Diane Kochilas, a trip to see the Northern Lights in Finland, a trip to Greece, and more.
“It is an incredible experience seeing the vision of the National Hellenic Museum manifest itself in continued celebration of Hellenism at the annual gala,” said National Hellenic Society Heritage Greece member Paul Markakis.
The Museum plans to unveil the NHM Collections and Archives Portal, which will grant anyone digital access to museum catalogs, digitized artifacts and archival materials.