Murray Hill, Syn Sultress, Aquarius Moon, The Art Students League of New York Dream Ball 2024, Photo by Deonté Lee/BFA.com

On Saturday, June 1, the Art Students League hosted its annual Dream Ball, a bacchanal-inspired celebration with costumes, cocktails, music, and dancing. Over 400 guests attended the event throughout the League’s landmark building on W 57th Street to support its mission to make fine art education accessible to all.

For one night only, the League’s Vanderbilt Gallery was transformed into an Enchanted Ballroom and disco where guests danced to music by DJ Black Helmet and enjoyed sultry burlesque performances by Syn Sultress and Aquarius Moon. The acclaimed drag legend Murray Hill emceed a costume parade and contest after handing out golden tickets to guests dressed for the theme of ‘Maximalist Fairytale.’ Prizes, including a gift certificate provided by Dream Ball partner Nordstrom, were awarded for the most creative looks with the grand prize.

Costume Contest Winners, The Art Students League of New York Dream Ball 2024, Photo by Deonté Lee/BFA.com

The League further transformed its historic home with themed rooms created by its visionary students and members including The Mushroom Grove, where partygoers could stop for a quick snack and refreshments by Just Ice Tea beneath giant mushrooms and sparkling pine trees, The Dark Arts Studio, a haunted twist on a classic League drawing studio where attendees chose to play the role of artist or muse and get their portrait drawn or photo taken, and The Siren’s Cavern, staged to mimic the deep sea home of mermaids and sea witches where guests could receive a tarot card reading and pose with our deep sea art installations.

Natalie White, Indira Cesarine, The Art Students League of New York Dream Ball 2024, Photo by Deonté Lee/BFA.com

The League’s century-old tradition of the Dream Ball first began in the 1920s and became a legendary annual event in NYC well into the 1960s to raise funds for the school’s scholarship program. The League, which was founded in 1875 by artists for artists, provides inclusive, affordable, high-quality fine art education for all.

Originally held at the Waldorf Astoria and Plaza Hotel, the event was renowned as a place where high society met the radical artists of the League in a bacchanal inspired by themes ranging from “Gods and Goddesses of the Greek Pantheon” to a celebration of “The World’s Most Famous Sinners.” Each year a Queen of the Ball was presented to the partygoers on a float. Former Ball Queens included Deborah Kerr and Anita Eckberg. The League remixed and reimagined the Dream Ball for the 21st century after a decades-long hiatus, reintroducing the must-attend party in 2023. The revival of this historic event fosters and grows the truly one-of-a-kind Art Students League community. All proceeds from the Dream Ball support the League’s mission to provide students with space to pursue their practice unconstrained by dogma, politics, or burdensome tuition.

Murray Hill, Eva Avenue, Michael Hall, Photo by Deonté Lee/BFA.com, The Art Students League of New York Dream Ball 2024
Costume Contestant Tumbleweed, The Art Students League of New York Dream Ball 2024,  Photo by Deonté Lee/BFA.com

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