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Arts & Entertainment

A Guide to Dallas Galas: Spring 2020

From Art Ball to DIFFA to Unicef Dallas, here's your cheat sheet to Dallas' fanciest benefits.

With the end of January comes the beginning of a jam-packed social season in Dallas. There are galas and balls, patron parties for those galas and balls, kick-off parties for those parties, and I’d bet that there are pre-parties for the kickoffs, too. Dallas loves its charity events, and for good reason: This is not just about getting dressed up and sipping champagne in a ballroom, it’s about supporting the organizations that work tirelessly to make Dallas a better place.

Dallas Côtes du Coeur, for instance, raises an average of $5.5 million in mission investments for the American Heart Association every year. UNICEF Dallas Gala raised over $1 million in 2019, only the second year it held a gala here. The Children’s Cancer Fund Gala also raises millions every year, providing much-needed resources to fund research, and help children who are fighting cancer.

Admission to these swanky events may be steep, but it’s an investment in something more than a night out on the town.

That said, a gala still makes for a pretty fun night on the town. Here are all of the largest galas happening in Dallas this spring. Get your auction paddles ready.

Courtesy of Art Ball.

UNICEF Dallas Gala 

When: February 7, 6:30 p.m.

Where: The Ritz-Carlton

What: Now in its third year, the UNICEF Dallas Gala has quickly become one of Dallas’ most star-studded soirées. This year, Jessica and Dirk Nowitzki will be presented with the Spirit of Compassion Award for their work supporting UNICEF’s mission to keep children around the world safe and healthy. The gala includes a reception, a seated dinner, a performance by King Calaway, and an after-party. 

Tickets: $1,500; Tables start at $10,000. 

Children’s Cancer Fund Annual Gala 

When: April 17, 6 p.m. 

Where: Hilton Anatole 

What: This semi-formal event raises more than $1 million for pediatric oncology research in a single evening with the help of Dallas Cowboys legends and longtime co-chairs Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. In addition to the usual dinner, auction, and musical entertainment, this gala includes a fashion show starring children undergoing cancer treatment at Children’s Medical Center, escorted by celebrity guests. 

Nasher Prize Gala 2019. Photo by Bret Redman.

Tickets: $300, or $2,750 for a table of ten.

Art Ball 

When: April 18, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Dallas Museum of Art 

What: The 55th annual Art Ball has the theme Seeing the DMA, an evening exploring the museum’s past, present, and future in three parts. After a cocktail reception, dinner, and program, there will be a club-like celebration with dancing. All proceeds support the Dallas Museum of Art, its educational and public programs, and the upkeep of its precious collection of 25,000 objects. 

Tickets: $2,500. Admission to the after-party only is $500. 

Dallas Contemporary S/S20 Gala 

When: March 28

Where: Dallas Contemporary

What: The cutting-edge museum will honor British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood at its second annual gala. Westwood’s legendary designs are the subject of the spring exhibition, Get a Life!, a celebration of fashion, art, and activism. Guests of the gala will also be able to preview an exhibition of photographer Paolo Roversi’s work for COMME des GARÇONS. The evening includes craft cocktails, a live auction, and a lively after-party.

Tickets: Pairs of tickets are $10,000.


When: May 16

Where: Omni Hotel Dallas 

What: House of DIFFA is not your usual black-tie bash. Expect wild performers around every corner, a legendary runway show, and an auction of specially commissioned tuxedo jackets from top designers. Of course, there’s dinner, drinks, and live music, too. It’s the signature event for one of North Texas’ largest HIV/AIDS fundraising organizations. 

Tickets: Tables start at $4,000 and accommodate 10 guests.

TWO X TWO 2019.

Côtes du Coeur 

When: April 18

Where: Omni Hotel Dallas

What: The Dallas Division of the American Heart Association throws this extravagant culinary event and wine auction each year and raises more mission funds than any other fundraising gala in the nation. Expect intriguing bites from top chefs and lots of wine to get you in the mood for the auction. 

Tickets: $2,000-3,000. 

Nasher Prize Award Gala 

When: April 4 

Where: Nasher Sculpture Center

What: Since introducing the prestigious award in 2015, the Nasher Sculpture Center has celebrated its Nasher Prize Laureate each year with a black-tie dinner taking place in the serene museum. This year, the event honors artist Michael Rakowitz. 

Tickets: Call 214-242-5169 or email [email protected]

Genesis Young Leaders Masquerade 

When: February 22, 8:00 p.m. 

Where: Sixty Five Hundred 

What: Be whisked away to Midnight in Monte Carlo with live jazz from the Georgia Bridgwater Orchestra, champagne, dancing, and casino games at this fun black-tie fête. The event provides crucial support for Genesis Women’s Shelter, which provides safety and support for victims of domestic violence. 

Tickets: $100 and up.

Scenes from the 2018 Genesis Young Leaders Masquerade. Photo via Facebook.

Under the Texas Moonlight 

When: March 28, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Northwood Club 

What: This fundraising cocktail party has raised over $2 million for Ronald McDonald House of Dallas over its 38 year history. Drink, mingle, bid in the auction, and support an organization which has served more than 39,000 families whose children are receiving essential medical care. 

Tickets: From $300. 

Aging Mind Foundation Gala 

When: February 29, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: The Joule Hotel  

What: Enjoy a sophisticated night of cocktails, dinner, and dancing while raising money for brain research. Alzheimer’s disease is the only leading cause of death on the rise–yet it typically receives far less funding than other deadly diseases. Since 2015, AMF has worked to push Alzheimer’s and dementia research forward, raising more than $2.5 million.

Tickets: Underwriting opportunities begin at $10,000. 

2020 Equest Gala 

When: April 25, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Hyatt Regency

What: Equest is staging An Evening in Old Hollywood for its 2020 gala, complete with a red carpet, paparazzi, and flowing champagne. The black-tie affair includes dinner, live and silent auctions, and entertainment by the 11-piece Walton Stout Band of the Jordan Kahn Group. Proceeds benefit Equest, which provides equine assisted learning and therapies to children and adults with disabilities.

Tickets: Tables of 10 start at $5,000.