Celebrating spring with Art in Bloom at the Carnegie

| Sunday, April 7, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Chalk it up to the presence of a DJ, a cameo by the University of Pittsburgh Dance Team, or even a mild case of spring fever, but the Carnegie Museum of Art was baptized good and proper by a fountain of cool abandon April 4, where nothing conventional was to be found within those normally stoic walls.

It was much ado about plenty for a crowd of nearly 400 who were coming out of hibernation to celebrate Art in Bloom, which proved to be an overdue attempt at bidding a final adieu to an obnoxiously long, dark winter.

“We need some spring in the city,” Lauren Ferrari said.

Also desperately needed was an opportunity to shake off the lingering effects of cabin fever.

Hosted by the Women's Committee and Junior Ambassadors, the evening started off as expected with guests admiring their way through meticulous floral arrangements, curated by local garden clubs and nonprofits and inspired by corresponding works of art within the Scaife and Ailsa Mellon Bruce Galleries.

Upping the ante, heavy-hitters including Allison McGeary Florist, Hepatica, Bill Chisnell Productions, Karrie Hlista Designs, Hens and Chicks, and Flowershow Studio put their two cents in with blooms that forced everyone to pick favorites.

The vibe was already good, but by the time the Galleries closed at 8 o'clock, the evening was buzzing.

Music, an open bar and a promised “big surprise” lured the party into the Hall of Sculpture, where the Skyline After Dark Gala had effortlessly shifted priorities — not to mention, the introduction of a champagne and ice-cream cocktail.

While mini-cliques of conversation formed around the dance floor, it was Lloyd Stamy and Jean Anne Hattler who finally broke the ice with their impromptu routine, cheered on by a bevy of little-black-dressed beauties from Pitt, who waited patiently for their turn. Technically, that “big surprise” was their energetic injection of hip-swaying persuasion. But, in reality, it was the delicious reincarnation of an old favorite that had everyone talking and no one wanting to leave.

Faces in the crowd included co-chairs Sandy Roberts and Laurie Bly, “Soiree: Entertaining with Style” author Danielle Rollins, Gayle and Bill Simpson, Mollie andTom Lang, Bridget Snyder, Sara Leone, Clay Shaffer and his mom, Melanie Garman-Shaffer, Melissa Ferrari, Joanie andSam Kamin, Carole andDan Kamin, Tara Safar, Peggy McKnight, Nancy Byrnes, Ranny and Jay Ferguson and Laura Dawson.

Kate Benz is the social columnist for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at kbenz@tribweb.com or 412-380-8515.

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