By, Macy Goodnight; For over 95 years, the Junior League of Tulsa (JLT) has been a treasure in the community, with a solid mission to improve the lives of fellow citizens while promoting volunteerism and the empowerment of women. Their annual GEM (Going the Extra Mile) Gala is a bright and beautiful reflection of their organization, and of the women who are valiantly involved in it.
In its fifth year, the Gala will be held April 4 at the prestigious and historic Mayo Hotel. Themed each year for a gemstone, tourmaline will be the headliner this year, and the party will be plastered in pink. Guests are encouraged to wear the theme color at the black-tie affair, but it is not required. “It’s not mandatory, but it’s all part of the fun,” said event co-chair, Tiffany Landry. “Tourmaline is a bright pink color, so it’s going to be fun!” The event will begin at 7 p.m. and will kick off with a VIP party for some of the sponsors. Dinner will be served, and there will be an open bar. A DJ will entertain during the event, and at 11 p.m., the after-party begins. “The party doesn’t stop at the end of the gala,” said Tiffany. “Everybody gets to hang out and dance.”
The GEM Gala is one of Junior League’s largest fundraisers for the year, with proceeds benefiting all of the many programs that they work with. A silent and live auction will take place, highlighting artwork, elegant jewelry, getaways, VIP experiences, local merchant packages and more. “We even have a stay in a cabin in the woods, and courtside tickets to a Thunder game,” Tiffany said. “We will have lots of different things. There is something for everyone.” Silent auction bidders need not be present to win and can bid online.
New this year, guests can enjoy “Bubbles and Bling,” with a special commemorative glass to serve the Gala’s signature cocktail drink. Each glass will have a number on the bottom, to be used for a prize drawing. The lucky winner will receive a beautiful piece of this years tourmaline jewelry.
Throughout the evening, local artist, Chris Mantle will showcase at the Gala, while painting live two art pieces. At the end of the evening, the art will be auctioned to the highest bidder. “This is a really exciting part of the evening,” said Tiffany. “It’s incredible to watch his work come together.”
Each year, JLT chooses two recipients to honor as their “GEMs.” This year’s honorees will be Hawthorne Elementary second grade Art Program, and JLT alumni, Lucia O’Connor. “We choose someone in the community to honor that we admire,” said Tiffany. “We also have chosen a wonderful program that we work with.” Hawthorne’s Art Program is a community partner and will receive a large contribution as part of the proceeds from the event, and artwork from the students will be on display. “This year is going to be really special,” said Tiffany, “because we are going to have the students create an art project that we will auction off.”
Lucia O’Connor is being honored for her many contributions to the community and is heavily involved with Junior League as a mentor. “She was instrumental in making Tulsa what it is today, and has devoted most of her life to impacting change,” said Tiffany. Mrs. O’Connor is heavily involved with the Ronald McDonald house, as well as many other nonprofit organizations that provide support to the community where needed.
(L-R)- Shelby Calhoun, Miriam Ho-Flores, Jamie Ledbetter, Elizabeth Warren, Ryan Parker, Tiffany Landry, Marissa Gill Douma, Autumn Knutson. Bottom Row (L-R) - Lenoir Reynolds, Lauren Colpitts, Jaclyn Metcalf, Taylor Tate.
GEM Gala tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available online at www.jltulsa.org/fundraiser/gem-gala/.
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