San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
Guest Count: 200 (Reception) / 250 (Ground Breaking)
Change was in the air at SFMOMA in the spring of 2013. The revered institution would be closing temporarily for a major expansion project. Such a moment needed to be celebrated, and DGSE stepped in to help, starting with a celebration for campaign supporters and ending with a boom (literally).
The Rooftop Garden was the perfect setting for the final donor reception in the current building. Looking out towards the location of the new wing, campaign donors and prospects mingled with the architects, curators, and a royal delegation from Norway (the home country of the architects), and were treated to a spectacular multi-media tour of the expansion plans. All of this was punctuated by herald trumpeters at the entry doors, dreamy live music, poignant remarks from Mayor Ed Lee and other luminaries, and unexpected artsy details.
For the ground breaking ceremony for the new wing, SFMOMA's PR team wanted to break away from the predictable remarks-and-shovel moment. Despite the chaos related to closing down a major museum, Denise turned a hum-drum loading and construction area into a red carpeted event space, complete with a jazz trio, brunch spread, Botta building-inspired cookie wall (with edible "spray paint"), and stunning architectural imagery. But the real show was that shovel moment, which involved children from a nearby elementary school pushing on a (fake) TNT box to release confetti canons at the moment of shoveling--much to the surprise of everyone in attendance.
Even the most seasoned event-goers said it was the best ground breaking ceremony they'd ever attended.