Last night, El Museo del Barrio celebrated its 24th annual Gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The theme of the evening was Women in the Arts, and the museum honored Carmen Herrera, Nancy Gonzalez, Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Elizabeth Nieto. The Gala is El Museo’s single most important fundraising event of the year, generating essential support for its critically acclaimed exhibitions and valued public and educational programs. This year’s Gala brought together over 300 luminaries from the worlds of fashion, entertainment, business, society, politics, and the arts and raised crucial operating funds that will enable the museum to continue its vital work and further expand its reach. In addition to hosting a special auction featuring Gabriela Palmieri, El Museo del Barrio welcomed its newly appointed Executive Director, Patrick Charpenel. Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed specialty cocktails made with Don Julio 70, the world’s first añejo claro tequila. Guests celebrated with a spirited dance floor, a live band, and topped the whole evening off with a crowded after party.

Maria Eugenia Maury, El Museo Gala Chair and the Chair of the Board of Trustee, states, “We are very happy to have celebrated such a successful event.  There was so much enthusiasm for Latin American and Latino art, especially women in the arts.  We are thankful and grateful to everyone who supported El Museo’s 2017 Gala.”


Curators and Fashion/Art/Design Luminaries
Giovanna Campagna
Nancy Gonzalez
Juan Montoya
Jessica Morgan
Enrique Norten
Roberta Saraiva Coutinho
Paul Vicelli

Tony Bechara
Jorge Tacla

Philanthropists and Community Members
Estrellita Brodsky
Fabricio Cardenas
Alejandra Castro Rioseco
Maria Eugenia Garcés-Campagna
Mexican Consul General Diego Gómez Pickering
Nohra Haime
William A. Haseltine
Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos
Andrew Kepler
Maria Eugenia Maury
Elizabeth Nieto
María Isabel Nieto
Clarice Oliveira Tavares
Carlos Picón
Daniel Rachmanis
Yolanda Santos
Jean Shafiroff
Honorable Ambassador María Emma Mejía Vélez
Monica Vidal
Jackie Weld Drake


Carmen Herrera
Nancy Gonzalez
Melissa Mark-Viverito
Elizabeth Nieto

Tony Bechara
Nohra Haime
William A. Haseltine
Maria Eugenia Maury
Clarice Oliveira Tavares

Abigail DeVille
Alex Gonzalez
Omar Hernandez
Carlos Mota
Candy Pratts Price
Lina Puerta
Narciso Rodriguez
Jorge Tacla
Kelly Talamas

Guests enjoyed specialty cocktails made with Don Julio 70, the world’s first añejo claro tequila

Creative event design provided by Susan Holland Events


Carmen Herrera
Lifetime Artistic Achievement: Carmen Herrera is a Cuban-American painter, recently honored with a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. At age 101, Herrera maintains her artistry with a clear vision, a strong drive, and everlasting patience. Describing her own minimalistic and abstract work, Herrera states, “Straight lines, I like angles, I like order. In the chaos that we live in, I like to put some order. So that, I guess, is why I’m a hard-edge painter.” Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1915, Herrera came to the United States with her late husband, Jesse Loewenthal, in 1939. About a decade later they moved to Paris, and it was there that Herrera found her artistic voice. El Museo is thrilled to honor Herrera for her contribution to the artistic field, and her strength as a female artist whose talents outshone the societal structures that often kept her work hidden from public view.

Nancy Gonzalez
Excellence in Fashion: Nancy Gonzalez, synonymous with vibrant color and luxurious textures, has become one of the most celebrated handbag designers in the world. Her innovative use of precious skins and distinctive color palette have made her handbags instant classics. Gonzalez, a petite, soft-spoken woman of the utmost conviction and unfathomable determination, knows firsthand what it takes to succeed. As a mother of two, she made the courageous choice for a Colombian woman to go into business for herself. Drawing from what she knew best, the inspiration of her native country, she created handbags that celebrated the natural beauty and rich culture of Colombia. Quality, exclusivity, authenticity, and timelessness are the trademarks of true luxury. These, along with a combination of dreaminess and rigor, are the pillars of the Nancy Gonzalez brand. El Museo looks forward to honoring her contributions to the fashion industry, and her dedication to showcasing Colombian beauty.

Melissa Mark-Viverito
Excellence in Public Service: Melissa Mark-Viverito serves as Speaker of the New York City Council, representing El Barrio/East Harlem and portions of the South Bronx. She was elected to office in 2005, and to the Speakership in 2014. She is the first woman of color to hold the position and the highest-ranked woman of color in citywide office. Mark-Viverito is a founding member of the Progressive Caucus, and a member of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she moved to New York City at the age of 18 to attend college. She received a BA in Political Science and Government from Columbia University and a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College CUNY.

Elizabeth Nieto
Excellence in Philanthropy: Elizabeth Nieto serves as the Global Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at MetLife. Since she assumed the role in June 2012, the company has defined and implemented its first global diversity and inclusion strategy supported by the MetLife CEO and the board of directors. The strategy focuses on the development of women globally and regional initiatives targeting, for example, ethnic and racial diversity, the LGBTQ community, people with different abilities, and veterans. In the last four years, the company has progressed in all diversity and inclusion metrics, and it continues to be highlighted as a best practice in talent development.

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