The Festival of the Autumn Moon has a long history, thirty-seven years! As a longtime museum member, a former trustee, and a Festival committee member and chair in 2012, I have attended and enjoyed almost half of those years. So it was especially rewarding to be asked to chair the Committee again, and especially at a time when we could look back to a long, illustrious tradition and also forward to exciting new possibilities that opened last December when Pacific Asia Museum and the University of Southern California merged to become USC Pacific Asia Museum. The hardworking committee members, aided by the museum staff, the USC Office of Cultural Relations and University Events, and community volunteers were committed to making this Festival Gala a grand celebration of both the merger and future opportunities.
Held on November 15, 2014, at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena, the event honored Dominic Ng, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of East West Bank, and a major supporter of the arts as a means of promoting better understanding of the diversity of Eastern and Western art and culture. Museum Director Christina Yu Yu, welcomed the more than 550 guests who attended, many in flamboyant Asian attire that has been traditional garb in years past. The committee decided to re-introduce the costume tradition and so we took a day off to shop at Peter Lai’s “Japanese Village” shop downtown and had great fun trying on beautiful Asian costumes from his collection (and it was even more fun to wear them that evening). The Langham was a glittering setting and the decor played on the museum’s distinctive Ming style architecture, adding to the Asian ambience. Guests enjoyed bidding on the museum’s signature silent auction which had bountiful selection of art and antiques temptingly displayed. Taiko drums announced time to move into the ballroom for a gourmet dinner, musical entertainment by Hui Jin, a celebrated tenor from Beijing and a doctoral candidate at the USC Thornton School of Music. The live auction, led by Mariana Gantus Joseph from Christies Auction House, offered exotic travel opportunities and elegant jewelry donated by the museum’s former director David Kamansky. It was a magical evening, a dream come true for the festival committee and made possible by the many sponsors, donors and guests whose generosity enables USC Pacific Asia Museum to expand its community outreach programming and fulfill its mission of encouraging intercultural understanding through the arts of Asia and the Pacific Islands.
Priscilla Gibbs, Chair, 2014 Festival of the Autumn Moon Gala