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Fifty years! The Orange County Museum of Art is celebrating half a century as the oldest museum of modern and contemporary art in Southern California, and that’s pretty impressive. I’ve been attending the museum’s major fundraiser, Art of Dining, for most of its 25 years, and this year’s elegant affair, held at Montage Laguna Beach, was once again a gastronomic masterpiece, thanks to Executive Chef Rob Wilson and his culinary team (the filet carpaccio and salmon tartare first course was a standout!). In keeping with tradition by honoring someone from the art world, this year’s honoree was the legendary Ferus Gallery director and co-owner Irving Blum. OCMA Director Dennis Szakacs lauded Blum’s vision in introducing Pop Art to the West Coast through Andy Worhol’s famous Campbell soup cans in the early ’60s, as well as representing an extraordinary group of Los Angeles artists, many also championed by OCMA over the years.

I have to say the 50th Anniversary executive committee, who oversaw the celebration, did a remarkable job. The women included Marsha Anderson, Inga Beder, Susan Etchandy, Michelle Janavs, Moira Kamgar, Twyla Reed Martin, Irene Martino, Lilly Merage, Jennifer Segerstrom, and Jennifer Van Bergh. Their vision, carried out by the talented Sunny Ravanbach of White Lilac, saw a ballroom filled with rectangular glass tabletops paved under glass with archival photographs from Ferus Gallery’s history and huge archival photographs on the walls around the room. Shimmering white tapers added to the magic for the 310 guests, with an estimated $430,000 realized for the history-making museum. Did I mention being welcomed by handsome Cartier pages in their spiffy red and black uniforms and gorgeous models wearing the legendary jeweler’s exquisite jewels? It was the perfect touch from the 50th Anniversary Lead Sponsor.

**Two photos provided by Colin Young-Wolff