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CAC Announces SweetArts 2022: Through The Astral Plane

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (March 23, 2022) – The Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans (CAC) is pleased to announce that SweetArts 2022: Through the Astral Plane, the CAC’s premier fundraising ball, will take place on Friday, April 1, 2022 from 7 pm - midnight at the CAC, 900 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA. Since 1984, SweetArts has celebrated and honored members of the artistic and cultural community of New Orleans. This year's theme, Through the Astral Plane, is an exploration into the future through immersive experiences, tantalizing surprises, visual projections and artistry while honoring visionaries from the arts and cultural community. The 2022 SweetArts Honorees include: Harold Clarke, couturier; TG Herrington, filmmaker; Lynn Whitfield, actress; Mario Villa, artist (In Memoriam); and Elizabeth “Betty” Pharr Moran, philanthropist (In Memoriam).

A progressive event with multiple experiences, SweetArts 2022, Through the Astral Plane, features the following elements:


7 - 8 pm | Reserve Tickets

An exclusive gathering of CAC supporters, featuring cocktails, supper by Fleur de Lis Catering, music by DJ Ann Glaviano, and recognition of the CAC's 2022 SweetArts Honorees.


8 - 10 pm | Reserve Tickets

An immersive experience with specialty bars, cuisine by Fleur de Lis Catering, digital and visual explorations, and more, set to beats by DJ C'est Funk.


10 pm - midnight | Included with Admission

Dance through the Astral Plane with DJ Otto while enjoying cocktails and late-night bites. Included with SweetArts admission.

SweetArts guests will also enjoy access to #fail, the CAC's Spring multimedia group exhibition, featuring works by twenty five artists from across the U.S. that explores the systemic failures facing our world. Featured artists include: Nathalie Alfonso, Eddie Arroyo, Abdul Aziz, Gregory Coates, Joseph Cuillier, Cara Despain, Dawn DeDeaux, Rahehleh Filsoofi, Leon Ford, Nash Glynn, Shana M. griffin, Micol Hebron, Sinisa Kukec, Susan Lee-Chun, Justin H. Long, Emilio Rojas, Sherrill Roland, Naama Tsabar, Frances Trombly, Juana Valdes, Elizabeth M. Webb, Agustina Woodgate, Derrick Woods-Morrow, Antonia Wright, and Octavia Yearwood.

2022 SweetArts Honorees

The CAC is excited to honor this year’s distinguished group of artistic leaders.

Harold Clarke, Couturier

Harold Clarke, head designer and owner of Harold Clarke Couturier Atelier, has brought to the United States the kind of luxury, elegance, and personal service that the world's most privileged individuals have known and come to expect for many years. As told by Essence Magazine, "Clarke weds vision and skill to design the gown of your dreams, using the most precious fabrics and innovative classical designs to create unique concepts in Bridal and Special Occasion wear for his clientele". By doing things according to his timetable, Harold Clarke has managed to stay in a class by himself and does not follow a typical Seventh Avenue schedule.

When the Jamaican native came to the United States in 1969, Clarke's objective was clear: he would one day become a household name in the high stakes fashion industry. Clarke attended the Fashion Institute of Technology [F.I.T.) in New York. He later opened his first studio in SoHo specializing in mood pieces and was later discovered by a specialty store on West Broadway. There he designed special couture pieces and limited edition gowns in all fabrications. From SoHo, Clarke moved his operation into the garment district, with a design studio at 147 West 40th street between Seventh Avenue and Broadway. At this time he specialized in couture bridal and special occasion gowns. Later, Clarke added a showroom in the prestigious bridal building at 1375 Broadway, where his collections were sold to exclusive clients, specialty stores, and boutiques across the United States and beyond. While working on a bridal party, Clarke was seduced by the history, ambiance, culture, and the essence that is the City of New Orleans. Since then, the city has directly influenced his special occasion pieces. Clarke applies advanced techniques and resources to create a collection that displays the city's experience through fashion. New Orleans has accepted Clarke with open arms by making him an honorary citizen, one of New Orleans Magazine's "50 People to Watch," recipient of the Mayoral Certificate of Appreciation, and a recipient of a special congressional award for outstanding contributions to the arts. He was also the designer of choice for the grandest wedding in New Orleans' history: the wedding of Mayor Marc Morial and news reporter Michelle Miller, whose bridal gown is now on display at the Louisiana State Museum. His collections have been showcased in events at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, Atlanta's Woodruff Arts Center, Super Bowl XXXVI pre-game show (featuring a gown in patriotic red custom designed for Ms. Pattie LaBelle), and the 2002 & 2003 Trumpet Awards shows (a Ted Turner project). His most recent projects include red carpet debuts at the Oscars, Golden Globe Awards, and Cannes Film Festival. Clarke also designed a historic gown for the New Orleans Opera Association's production of Pontalba, which became the second of his gowns to be added to the Louisiana State Museum's permanent collection.

TG Herrington, Filmmaker

TG Herrington is an American-born and Hollywood South based Director, Writer and Editor. His films have premiered at the top festivals in the world. Mr. Okra premiered at Sundance & Festival de Cannes film festivals and is showcased at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. A Tuba To Cuba, premiered at SXSW followed by an extensive worldwide festival run and is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. Other notable credits include Executive Producer on the civil war film The Free State of Jones starring Matthew McConaughey and Editor on The Mechanic starring Jason Statham. TG has worked extensively in commercials, TV, and in music videos where he has written and directed videos for the likes of Michael Jackson, Pink, and Sir Paul McCartney. His production company, Nom De Guerre Films, is based in New Orleans and is currently in development on two motion pictures and three episodic series. TG is a member of the Director’s Guild Of America and the Motion Picture Editors Guild.

Lynn Whitfield, Actress

The iconic actress and dancer Lynn Whitfield received critical acclaim and won two NAACP Image for her portrayal of matriarch, Lady Mae Greenlea, on OWN network's award-winning drama series Greenleaf from playwright/show-runner Craig Wright and executive producer Oprah Winfrey. Greenleaf reunited Lynn with Oprah as on-screen sisters who went head to head. This was their third time collaborating following the television movies The Women of Brewster Place and The Wedding. Feature films include her role as Roz in the award-winning Eve’s Bayou, the diabolical Brandi in A Thin Line Between Love and Hate opposite Martin Lawrence, Taking the Heat opposite Tony Goldwyn, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion, Stepmom, and as laugh-out-loud Debra in Head of State opposite Chris Rock. She recently starred in the Hulu comedy Vacation Friends opposite John Cena, Lil Rey Howard, and Yvonne Orji, and in the Netflix feature Nappily Ever After opposite Sanaa Lathan. Whitfield received an Emmy Award for Best Actress in a Movie or Miniseries for her portrayal of Josephine Baker in HBO’s The Josephine Baker Story -- the second woman of color to win this award. Whitfield also received a Golden Globe nomination for this performance. Lynn is a four-time NAACP Award-winner and has received numerous nominations for her role in The Cheetah Girls. Whitfield was awarded the Gracie Award 2017 for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Lynn played a recurring role on ABC’s Mistresses and has previously co-starred on numerous television series, including ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder, FlashFoward, HeartBeat, Chasing Life, VH1’s Hit the Floor, Fox’s Boston Public and CBS’ Without a Trace. Whitfield received her BFA from Howard University and joined the theatre company, D.C. Black Repertory, following her graduation. She later moved to New York City and performed in several off-Broadway shows including the acclaimed 1977 Los Angeles production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf opposite Alfre Woodard.

Mario Villa, Artist (In Memoriam)

Mario Villa was the epitome of cosmopolitan, man-of-the-world; he exuded a classic elegance that was never stuffy thanks to his ready smile and twinkling eyes, which would immediately put you at ease. Mario Villa grew up in Nicaragua. He was educated in England and New Orleans, studying anthropology at University of New Orleans (1976) and architecture at Tulane University (1981). He leaves behind a huge legacy in the art - not just his long career as an artist and furniture designer; his devotion to philanthropy was quietly done and sincere. His gallery, Mario Villa Inc, that opened in the late 70s was devoted to showcasing contemporary New Orleans and Louisiana artists. He nurtured and supported many (at that time) struggling artists who have gone on to become well known and prosperous. Villa ran the gallery, balancing being a full time showman and full time artist for decades, closing the door in 2004. “I love to work with clients who present a challenge and an opportunity to outdo myself.” It is this style that prompted The New York Times in February 1991 to describe Villa as “an exuberant fellow who with a few dollars and some gold swags could probably transform a 7-Eleven into a nightclub.” Among his creations that displayed classical influence were the outsize lighting sconces featuring metal palm fronds and burnished metal pieces that flank the entrance to the Contemporary Arts Center.

Elizabeth “Betty” Pharr Moran, Philanthropist (In Memoriam)

Elizabeth “Betty” Pharr Moran was born on August 15, 1930, and lived in New Orleans all her life. Betty attended Country Day School and graduated from Isidore Newman School in 1948. She attended Sophie Newcomb (Tulane University) College, where she was an active member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, graduating in 1952 with a BA in Elementary Education. From 1953-1957 Betty taught first grade classes in the New Orleans Public School system. She taught art to children, was always involved in art and being creative in many ways, whether helping at her daughter’s school Sacred Heart, designing the Lagniappe covers for the Junior League and creating decor for its Children’s Theater, installing exhibitions for NOMA; or decorating for the annual Odyssey Ball. Using her good taste and flair, she always produced a smashing success. Always curious and inquisitive, she continued learning and studying. Betty received her BFA from Tulane in 1987 and attended both their MAT and MLA programs. Betty was a past (1972) President of the Friends of the Cabildo, and helped chair the Sun King Exhibition and the Christmas Bazaar. In 1977 she was a founding Board member of the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), helped with Art for Arts Sake, the SweetArts Ball, and the Century Club She served on the Board of Louisiana Crafts Council and volunteered for Art Against Aids. In 1984 Betty established her successful Interior Design business, leaving her mark of impeccable good taste on many New Orleans homes. She always surrounded herself with interesting people, art and beauty. Betty was an avid art collector and supporter of local artists, galleries and cultural institutions in New Orleans, her city she knew so well and loved. Betty also served on non-art-related community boards, including Newcomb, Tulane, and Newman Alumni, and the Loyola President’s Council. She volunteered for the Preservation Resource Center, Friends of the Zoo, and entertained many Garden Club members on their annual outings. Betty was an all round creative dynamo who could paint, draw, sculpt, make prints, design, decorate and celebrate. She lived life to the fullest with verve and gusto. Betty usually did things her way, which was often the best way. She loved to travel, see new things and places, visiting her family abroad as often as allowed. She was a consummate entertainer, many will remember her annual Halloween bash. Her positive view on life, her innate sense of style and fun-loving ways will be missed by all.

SweetArts 2022 Chairs
Gregg Porter and Thea Pagel

Major Sponsors

Donna Perret Rosen and Benjamin M. Rosen; Melanie Perret (In honor of Betty Moran and Mario Villa)


AOS Interior Environments, Fleur de Lis Catering, Roulaison Distilling Co, Gregg Porter Gardens Landscape Architecture|Horticulture Design|Installation, Thea Pagel Productions, trepwise, Eskew Dumez Ripple, Eglantine Rose, See-Hear Productions, William Grant and Sons & Sazerac Company.

VIP Sponsors

Adam and Kelley Anderson, Judy Barrasso and Brent Barriere, Michele Reynoir and Kevin Clifford, Katherine and Tony Gelderman, Wendy and Cliff Hall, Valerie Besthoff, Mignon Mary and Doug Hamell, Jane Cooper and Bob Heaps, Beth and Hugh Lambert, Hattie Collins and Rebecca Maisel, Barbara and Biff Motley, MK Wegmann and Lisa Mount, Robyn Dunn Schwarz and Andrew Schwarz, Michael Siegel and Aimée Farnet Siegel, and The Family of Mario Villa.

Astral Team

Jennifer Barriere, Patricia Bazan, Alicia and David Bendana, Shannon Foley MaryBeth Guarisco, Chris Guarisco: In honor of Mario Villa, Robin Marrouche, Lee McDonough, Gina Monette, David Robinson-Morris, Michael & Jill Schneider, Warren and Jenny Surcouf III, and Jonathan Fawer.


Media Contact

Laura B. Tennyson

Associate Director of External Affairs

504 319-9943

About the CAC

The Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans is committed to artists, the presentation of multidisciplinary work, and advancing the value and power of the art of our time. As a touchstone for Contemporary Art in New Orleans and the Gulf South, the CAC works to foster awareness of new ideas in contemporary art; provide exhibition and performance opportunities for artists pioneering in their fields; serve as a hub for artistic communities; and enhance access for New Orleans and Gulf South communities to contemporary art that provokes, inspires, and encourages critical and creative reflection on a just society. Admission is free on Sundays for Louisiana residents, courtesy of The Helis Foundation. Children and students through Grade 12 and under receive free admission, courtesy of The Helis Foundation. Visit the CAC online at

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SweetArts 2022

Through the Astral Plane
Friday Apr 1, 2022
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