Museum of Science and Industry

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The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI).  Co-chaired by Cheri Chappelle, director of diversity and inclusion for Illinois Tool Works (ITW) and MSI Trustee Frank Clark, retired chairman and CEO of ComEd, the Gala raised around $360,000 for Black Creativity programming and events which pay tribute to the culture, heritage and science contributions of African Americans and help motivate youth in the sciences.

Guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres while viewing the Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition. African-American artists, both professional and amateur, from around the country, submit works for the juried competition. This year over 85 original works, including nine artworks from eight youth artists, between the ages of 14 to 17, were selected.

NBC5 Chicago’s Alicia Roman, the evening’s emcee for The Museum of Science and Industry, introduced David Mosena, president, and CEO of the Museum. He welcomed guests and said, “The Black Creativity Gala is always a fabulous event. The money raised goes to a great cause—developing Museum programs that inspire and motivate kids in the sciences and encourage them to think creatively about the problems that challenge our world.”

After cocktails, guests made their way to the Museum’s Rotunda for a lavish strolling buffet. The elaborate food stations were accented by ice carvings, lanterns, lush greens, and vivid floral designs. Stations offered jumbo Gulf shrimp, grilled octopus, crawfish macaroni and cheese, carved black cherry smoked duck and other delicious dishes. The sumptuous dessert spread offered panna cotta, truffles, smoothie shooters and more.

Throughout the night, guests packed the dance floor, enjoying a special performance by Gentleman of Leisure, followed high energy tunes by DJ Lil’ John.

The Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition opened January 22. It is the longest-running exhibition of African-American art and has been displayed annually at MSI since 1970 and runs through February 22.

Black Creativity 2014 sponsors: ComEd, Dover Inc., ITW, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas, and US Bank.

Photo credit: Alison Neidt-Toonen and John Wheeler

About Margaret O'Connor

Margaret J. O’Connor is the founder/owner of MarCon Communications, a public relations and special events firm which handles the publicity and event needs for a diverse range of clients. She’s involved with numerous charities in Chicago and is active in its lifestyle and social scene. She grew up and was educated in Africa, Australia and America and holds degrees in marketing and finance from the University of Illinois. She is a contributing writer to many print and digital publications and her focus is lifestyle, culinary and nonprofit events. Read more from this author.