The THUNDER BALL benefiting Fresh Arts

Saturday, February 25, 2023 | 8 PM – 12 AM

VIP Red Carpet Experience:  7 – 8 PM

Silver Street Studios | 2000 Edwards Street, Houston, TX 77007

Anything but your typical sit-down gala, the Fresh Arts Ball is an annual celebration to honor the organization’s impact on Houston’s creative community. Most importantly, the gala is Fresh Arts’ biggest fundraiser, raising between 15-20% of the organization’s revenue. Due to COVID-19 this is the first gala since 2019!

On Saturday, February 25, 2023, Silver Street Studios transformed into an electric party den filled with 450+ secret agents, hair band rockers, and glamorous villains for the gala theme and title: The THUNDER BALL

Fresh Arts was able to raise more than $165,000 to go towards programming and general operating support. This includes the record-breaking silent auction raising $45,000, becoming the highest-earning silent auction in Fresh Arts’ 20-year history. The silent auction sponsor, Fleato, was a huge part of this success, creating and customizing the silent auction platform. 

In true Fresh Arts form, the annual “Ball” combined  immersive atmosphere, over-the-top outfits, creative cocktails (shaken, not stirred!), delectable bites from local restaurants, and fantastic arts entertainment featuring exciting performances with a stellar silent art auction – showcasing 50+ of Houston’s most dynamic emerging and established artists. This year’s Ball also included a NEW VIP Red Carpet Experience with early access to the space, the silent auction, photo opp, and exclusive drinks!

It’s been three years since we’ve been able to host everyone under one roof, and everyone truly showed out. It was inspiring to see everyone come together, embrace the theme and help Fresh Arts continue to support our artists. The energy in the room was unmatched and our arts community looked as vibrant as ever.

Guests were encouraged to be a part of the thematic art showcase by expressing their creativity through party attire and costumes. Ideas include Bond-inspired getups from the 1965 Thunderball film (ex. glamorous Bond Girls, men classic tuxedos, vintage wetsuits or beachwear), movie and literary characters who embody thunder and lightning (Zeus, Thor, Thundercats), and other roaring or ELECTRIC frocks!


The evening was emceed by Houston Poet Laureate, Outspoken Bean, with party tunes curated by DJ Gracie Chavez. The evening also highlighted different appearances including a live musical performance by Tree G Music, a choreographed Sinatra dance routine by Leandre Douglas, aerial dancing by Aerial Bambi, casino tables and a live painting performance by event chair, Sebastien “Mr. D” Boileau.

Creative cocktails and drinks were courtesy of BCI wine & spirits, Lalo Tequila, St Germain, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co., SNAP Vodka, Grizzly Bear Bourbon, and City Orchard Cider. Savory & sweet culinary bites were courtesy of Phoenicia Specialty Foods, Common Bond Cafe, Henderson & Kane, Mamma’s Tamales, Winfield’s Chocolate Bar, Spec’s Finer Foods, and Betelgeuse Betelguese.


Fresh Arts’ annual Ball also highlights local arts champions who embody the empowerment of Houston’s artists and creatives.


Performing arts and community advocate Jorge Garza is an internationally renowned operatic tenor, Owner/President of GARZA STUDIOS, and Founder of Segundo Barrio Children’s Chorus. GARZA STUDIOS houses professionally equipped performance spaces that create opportunities for arts education and expression in a neighborhood traditionally underrepresented in Houston’s artistic landscape. Segundo Barrio Children’s Chorus is Houston’s first bi-lingual children’s chorus, whose mission is to enrich the lives of children and families in the Second Ward and East End District through music. In addition to his community work, Garza continues to travel the world as an award-winning performer.


Art and philanthropy power-duo Dana and Taft McWhorter have been living an #artlife for the past 15 years.  While Taft is the artist, Dana and Taft run the logistics of the business as a team.  A main focus of their business is serving their community through philanthropy.  Through donating artwork, the dynamic duo has raised just shy of a million dollars for local charities.  With a heart for supporting artists, the couple founded The Seekers, an artist collective and spring board for emerging artists.  Dana and Taft recently published a book titled “50 Artists Houston” spotlighting the local art scene.


Kimberly + James Bell

Kaleta Blaffer Johnson + John Domolky

Karla Modesto + Sebastien “Mr. D” Boileau

Jennifer + Blake Perrin



In honor of Bell + Fairbanks Family

Steve Gibson / Silver Street Studios

Holthouse Foundation

Lama + Samer Danial // Susan, George, and John Domolky // Dunleavy Foundation // Marita + JB Fairbanks // Joan Blaffer Johnson // Laura U Design Collective

Harry L. Bowles // Kathy + George Britton // Kristen + David Buck | Sidley Austin LLP // Tracy Dieterich in honor of James + Kimberly Bell // MGA, LLP/Paul Grossbard // Kathy + Matthew Kelley // Jennifer + Blake Perrin

Debner+Company // Gordon Arata // Martha + Richard Finger // Laura Elmore + Jared LeBlanc // Margaret + Thad Hill // Vy + Jim Hopkins // Isabelle Kafarela + James Engel // James Phalen // Austin Thomas // Jackson Walker // Western Airways / Capt. George Dodge // Janna + Adam Zylman

Jennifer + David Ducote // Stephanie + Ernie Cockrell // Susie + Sanford Criner // Laura Galt // Rainey Knudson // John Relton // Brooke Robertson // Sesh Coworking // Bryan Scrivner


Alan Rodewald // Alexander Squier // Amanda Powers // Anastasia Kirages // Angela Alvarado Corson // Angela Fabbri // Anthony Pabillano // Benji Stiles // Bob Card // Caroline Truong // Dana Caldera // Drea the Artist // Eepi Chaad // Elizabeth Umanzor // Gleeson Ryan // Heather L. Johnson // Henry G. Sanchez // Janavi Mahimtura Folmsbee // Jatziri Barron // Julie DeVries // Kelly O’Connor // Keri Bas // Ksenia Kozhenkova // Laura Aurealis // Lauren Luna // Laura Hurter, The Crimson Vagabond // Lindsay Burck // Mason Rankin // Matt Manalo // Melissa Showers // Micah Salinas // Michelle A. Holbert // Michelle Cedeño // Miles Payne // Monica Melgar // Norola Morgan // Nyssa Juneau // PIERO BRIGNOLE // Rachel Gonzales // Ruby Ibeth Pinedo-Fear // Sarah Savoie // Sarah Sudhoff // Sebastien “Mr.D 1987” Boileau // Stephanie Gonzalez // Taft McWhorter // Tami Moschioni // Tatiana Escallon // Tina Hernandez // Tony Paraná // Travis Hedemann // Vincent Fink // Wood Fancher Anthony // Y.E. Torres


Artificial Heart // Arts District Houston // Avalon Advisors // Bayou City Smiles // Bell Creek Ranch // Brasserie 19 // Carla Sue, LLC // Colores Collective // Debner // DTLAcustom Inc // Eiliot’s Table // Eyeful Art // Heartbeet // Hemline River Oaks // Hilton Garden Inn The Woodlands // Houston Ballet // Houston Symphony Society // Hungry’s // Hyatt Place The Woodlands // iHostPoker Casino Parties // Kimberly + James Bell // KNOT STANDARD // Magpies & Peacocks 501(c)3 Non-Profit Design House // Miller Outdoor Theatre // Modern Marla // Neiman Marcus Houston // Q Clothier // Robin Jackson Photography // Station Theater //The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston // Theatre Under The Stars // Tootsies // Triple LLL Designs // Union is Creation // Valobra Master Jewelers // Vitalyc Medspa // Wakefield Crowbar


Ahshia Berry + Sarah Jayne / Magpies & Peacocks // Katie + AJ Brass // Leon Brener // Kristen and David Buck // Hannah Bull // Eepi Chaad + Jeremy LeJeune // Stephanie + Ernie Cockrell // Claudia + Roberto Contreras // Valerie + Tracy Dietrich // Angela Fabbri // Marita + JB Fairbanks // Audra + Tim Franklin // Rachel Gonzales // Whitney Hart + Jean Paul Capin // Travis Hedemann // Isabelle Kafarela + James Engel // Kathy + Matthew Kelley // Lauren Luna // Tara Martin // Gretchen + Andrew McFarland // Harry McMahan // Edgar Medina + Brandon Buras // Kimberly Stevens + Steve Natvick // Anthony Pabillano // Lauren Paine // Andrea Parker // Rick Perez // James Phalen // Winnie + Nic Phillips // Nadia Rasouli + Jonathan Aron // Lutfi Rukab // Lily + Jonathan Schnitzer // Jackie Staple + Adam Russ // Ishwaria and Vivek Subbiah // Kathryn + Colby Swain // Austin Thomas // Y. E. Torres + Remy Dillenseger // Laura + Michael Umansky // Ann + Richard Vaughan // YungChris // Rassul Zarinfar // Tina + Josh Zulu


Bella Kafarela // Ben Denton // Brandi Cloud // Bryan Wigianto // Colleen Wittoesch // Craig Compean // Chris Cuellar // Dawn Washington // Dhevi Rajendran // Dustin Wilborn // Frances-Amanda Stallworth // Isaiah Washington // Jocelyn Gutierrez // Hannah Bull // Hilary Scullane // Michelle De Belen // Norola Morgan // Shad Samuiddin // Soraya Bordoff // Tamra Pierce // Tony Carranza // Vivian Rodriguez



Fresh Arts, a 501(C)3 nonprofit corporation, empowers local artists through programs that build knowledge, amplify local resources, and connect communities. Our programs include career-building and mentorship support, free online resources, fiscal sponsorship for artist-led projects, the Space Taking Artist Residency, and public art projects commissioned through the management of Arts District Houston.

PO Box 66494 Houston, TX 77266 |