Fundraiser for the arts celebrates 66 years

<strong>Fundraiser for the arts celebrates 66 years</strong>

The Art Association of Jacksonville announces ball theme: Beauty, Grace & Elegance

Special to The Source
Photos/Submitted to The Source

The Art Association of Jacksonville is pleased to announce the theme of this year’s Beaux Arts Ball as “Beauty, Grace & Elegance,” in honor of the 66th annual Beaux Arts Ball.

The event, planned for Saturday, April 29, serves as the primary fundraiser for The Art Association of Jacksonville with proceeds used to promote art appreciation and education for all ages at The David Strawn Art Gallery.

Photos/Submitted to The Source
(Left) Co-chairs for the 2023 Beaux Arts Ball are (from left) Cammie Symons, Stephanie Davidsmeyer Alexander and Kristen Davidsmeyer.

The theme was introduced February 4 at the gallery’s monthly opening by 2023 ball general co-chairs Kristen Davidsmeyer, Stephanie Davidsmeyer Alexander and Cammie Symons.

Focusing on art appreciation and education, The Art Association of Jacksonville brings awareness of all art — old and new — through The David Strawn Art Gallery’s permanent exhibits and monthly gallery showings, which are free to the public. The association also provides children and adults in the area the opportunity to explore different forms of art through its art class offerings.

Proceeds from the fundraiser are also used for those exhibits and classes, as well as funding renovations and upkeep of the historic gallery building.

The lead-up to the ball includes the anticipation of the crowning of the king and queen along with honoring last year’s royalty from 2022. This year, the festivities will be held at the elegant Annie Merner Chapel on the beautiful campus of the former MacMurray College.

The three co-chairs of the 2023 ball selected the theme, “Beauty, Grace & Elegance.” “As the chairs of the premiere fundraiser for The Art Association, Kristen, Stephanie and I were eager to announce this year’s theme,” said Symons. “This year’s ball was inspired by Audrey Hepburn and her classic movie, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s.’”

Hepburn’s words, “Elegance is the beauty that never fades,” also played a role. “As a Hollywood style icon and humanitarian, we thought she embodied what we want to bring to this year’s Beaux Arts Ball,” Davidsmeyer added.

Erica Melcher will design this year’s set that will tie to the logo as a simple yet classic design. Jessica Richardson designed the logo with this year’s “elegant” theme in mind.

New to the Beaux Arts Ball this year will be a jewelry pull — much like traditional wine pulls seen at past events only with jewelry.

Prior to coronation, there will be a champagne reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at The David Strawn Art Gallery. All ball attendees and guests are invited to attend this portion of the festivities before going to Annie Merner Chapel for the coronation.

Patron and general tickets will be available online at and at Annie Merner Chapel prior to the Beaux Arts Ball on Saturday, April 29, where the coronation will begin at 7 p.m. Immediately following the coronation at Annie Merner Chapel will be entertainment by Kapital Sound and hors d’oeuvres at McClelland Hall.

Patron tickets are $40 and include admission to the reception, coronation and dance, while general tickets are $10 and include the coronation and champagne reception. An interpreter will be available upon request at the coronation for persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. There will also be accessible seating. Call The David Strawn Art Gallery office at 217-243-9390 or visit for more details.

Follow the “The Art Association of Jacksonville” on Facebook for additional information about The David Strawn Art Gallery and Beaux Arts Ball.

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