Prado gala raises funds for three museums

The world’s a nicer place in my beautiful balloon/It wears a nicer face in my beautiful balloon/We can sing a song and sail along the silver sky/For we can fly, we can fly/Up, up and away

Whether taken literally or metaphorically, those Jimmy Webb lyrics (made popular by The Fifth Dimension) are about a journey - one that ends in a place higher, better than where it started.

Last Saturday, the Patrons of the Prado took one such journey. The organization raised more than $300,000 for three local museums at its 2008 summer gala themed “Up, Up and Away.” The event took place at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.

Patrons of the Prado have been raising money for arts organizations and museums on the Prado of Balboa Park since 1997. This year’s event benefited the San Diego Museum of Man, Museum of Photographic Arts and the San Diego Museum of Art.

Several hundred people gathered for the black-tie affair, which included live and silent auctions, tray-passed hors d’oeuvres and a four-course dinner created by Hyatt Regency executive chef Sebastian Layen.

Gigantic red, orange and yellow balloons floated overhead, a hot air balloon mural framed the bar and a red carpet led straight to the dance floor and main stage.

Tom Blair, master of ceremonies and San Diego Magazine’s editor-in-chief, serenaded 2008 honorary chair Lois Roon with his Sinatra-esque rendition of “The Way You Look Tonight.” And, The Heroes tied the entire evening together with those theme-appropriate lyrics to the song “Up, Up and Away.”

Among the evening’s attendees: Gala chair Elisabeth Bergan; Patrons of the Prado president Kathleen Buoymaster; Derrick Cartwright, executive director of the San Diego Museum of Art, and his wife Lauren Cartwright; Judy and Jack White; Steve, Lynne and Jessica Wheeler; Diane York-Goldman; Jeanne Jones and Don Brietenberg; Steve and Marilyn Miles; Chris Roon; Rosemary and Harry Wong; Peggy Boeker; Al Williams; and Cindy Goodman, director of communications for Patrons of the Prado, and her husband Tom Goodman.