On the Scene
Prabhakant and Anita Sinha and Diane and Richard Weinberg./photo courtesy museum 0

Diwali Ball celebrants cheer the Cubs, too

October 23rd, 2016

Guests at the Diwali Ball at Art Institute of Chicago felt transported to India amid palm tree centerpieces, floral rangoli designs and south Indian temples superimposed on the walls around them.

But make no mistake, this was Chicago. And when the Cubs clinched a spot in the World Series, the crowd erupted into hoots and applause.

The victory seemed timed with the evening’s entertainment. Following the cheers, dancers in colorful costumes performed in the aisles and then pulled guests to the dance floor for a party that continued to midnight.

Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights. The celebration signifies the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. It has nothing to do with politics or sports–though for Cubs fans, the celebration was especially sweet.

The evening began with a fashion show in the museum’s foyer before moving through the Alsdorf Galleries featuring the museum’s Indian and Himalayan collections. Hat tip (or sari whip) to museum curator Madhu Ghose, who kept in mind the space–like the art–connected the old part of the museum to the new Modern Wing.

Griffin Court, the Modern Wing’s entrance, morphed into a square in India with musicians seated on the floor, colorful dancers moving in the aisles and an aromatic menu of coconut beet chops, chettinad chicken and tarts with curry caramel and cardamom.

The inspiration for the evening was thanks to Diane Weinberg, who’s traveled to India regularly for 40 years with her husband, Chicago arts entrepreneur Richard Weinberg.

They co-chaired the event with Anita and Prabha Kant Sinha, collectors of Indian art and supporters of the museum. “We wanted to celebrate and expand both those spaces,” says Prabha, a museum trustee and co-founder of ZS Associates consulting firm.

Other attendees included Chicago entrepreneurs Jai Shekhawat and Lou Weisbach, La Rabida Children’s Hospital CEO Brenda Wolf and Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, who was among a handful of the Weinbergs’ Water Tower Place neighbors.

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