More than 450 guests packed the grand lobby of the ultra-modern Carl Icahn Laboratory on Princeton University’s campus Saturday evening, October 28, for Dining by Design, the annual Arts Council of Princeton fundraiser. Vodka martinis in a decidedly scientific neon green hue were served, appropriately, in test tubes in buckets of ice beneath the walk-through Frank Gehry sculpture in the center of the lobby, affectionately called “the armadillo.” Waiters passed hors d’oeuvres — Calamata olive tart; balsamic fig on flat bread with goat cheese; pecan chicken with spicy mustard dipping sauce; smoked salmon with Dijon cream, dill, and capers, to name a few — prepared by Larry Frazer, catering chef for Princeton University.

Dancers from Princeton Ballet — wearing rectangular Lycra costumes, also in scientific neon green, which covered their whole bodies, including their heads, so they looked like they were zipped into giant stretchy pillowcases — moved about the party, in and among the guests, performing “conceptual movement art,” slithering and rolling like amoebas. Princeton’s Laptop Orchestra provided musical entertainment.

Jeff Nathanson, executive director of the Arts Council, presented a special award to Shirley Tilghman, president of Princeton University, for her contributions to the arts community, which she graciously accepted but held off on the handshakes and air kisses due to “a terrible cold.” Following the cocktail party, guests were assigned to one of 33 private homes for “culinary and cultural arts dinner parties” in some of Princeton’s most exclusive neighborhoods. Presenting artists and culinary professionals included ceramic artist Katherine Hackl, at the home of Kathleen and Richard Gittleman on Battle Road; printmaker Judith Brodsky, founder of the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper, at her own home on Clarke Court; and wine expert Ed Bergman, at the home of Peter and Helena Bienstock (Peter is an Arts Council board member) on Stockton Street.

The event raised over $100,000 for Arts Council programming.

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