Saturday, May 8, 2021 | 6 – 11 pm

Location: Dominican Street in the Black Pearl

Featuring Musical Guests: TRES IGUANAS, Vaerlie Sassyfras, DJ Action Jackson, and Josh Paxton


We are excited to invite you to the culminating SweetArts series event: Mid-Century Jazz Fest Soirée on Saturday, May 8 from 6-11 pm! Together, with special musical guest The Iguanas and plenty of Crawfish Monica, we will celebrate artists and cultural leaders at the Center, and raise a toast to those SweetArts who are no longer with us: Shelley Middleberg, Tucker Fitz-Hugh, and Lin Emery. We look forward to festing with you!

Hosted by Sally Heller, Gretchen and Rodger Wheaton, Gregg and Weezie Porter, Rachel and Bryan Bailey, Jill and Michael Schneider, Susan and Shelby Russ, Nurhan and Bridgett Gokturk, Valerie Besthoff, Michael Whitaker, Sally and Tom Connolly, Suzanne and Steve Dumez, The Heller Estate, Ginny Wise and Kevin Wilkins, Deborah Huger and Thomas Valentine, Jenny and Warren Surcouf III, Nancy Lemman, Nancy Lassen, Peter Trapolin, Barbara and Biff Motley, Staci Rosenberg, Jennifer and John Rowland, Alicia and David Bendana

Shelley Middleberg (in memoriam, 1950-2018)

Shelley was a lover of the arts and spent over twenty years working in various roles at the Contemporary Arts Center, most recently as a director of sales and hospitality. She was an early resident of the Warehouse District and could often be found wearing one of her many bright scarves at any one of the neighborhood establishments. A tireless arts enthusiast, Shelley was president of the Louis A. and Lillian L. Glazer Family Foundation, which supports the arts, various Jewish institutions and other philanthropic organizations. She is known for her warmth and friendship and dedication to family and friends. There will be crawfish cheesecake served at this event, because that was Shelley's favorite. 

Tucker Fitz-Hugh (in memoriam, 1967 - 2019)

A note from Tucker's friends: Our much missed, the gifted Bon Vivant of our dear city, who departed with such premature haste, has left enduring memories for many of us. As a young man, Tucker’s life was a constant search for the interesting, the romantic, the aesthetic, as well as the fabulous and chimeral. His formal education led him to the Culinary Institute of America in New York, where he matured into a culinarian, a gourmand and a dedicated epicure. He titillated scores of our tastebuds as Chef in many of our city’s finest restaurants. Tucker had multiple avocations, one of which was botany. He formed collections of rare palms, orchids and bromeliads, and his annual participation in NOMA’s Art in Bloom was always an exciting surprise for all.  Tucker also had an enthusiasm for painting, and through this form expression, was able to energize his fine sense of design and personal use of color. His paintings often included humor, as in his PIG series. Tucker designed and installed many gardens, catered innumerable affairs, created and baked unique cakes, and also portrayed his distinctive style through his paintings. He enriched our city in many ways, and his many friends celebrate his well deserved honor in the CAC's Sweet Arts Celebration. 

Lin Emery (in memoriam, 1927 - 2021)

Internationally-renowned sculptor and 2020 CAC SweetArts honoree, Lin was born in New York. She began sculpting at the age of 21, studying under Russian sculptor Ossip Zadkine while living in Paris. Upon returning to New York, she learned to weld and cast bronze before moving to New Orleans in 1945. Emery first began creating kinetic sculpture in 1954, experimenting with water and magnet-powered construction methods. Emery’s aesthetic philosophy compelled her to replicate forms found in nature, attempting to recreate the fluid, organic, and often whimsical movements of the natural world. Encounters with prominent sculptors, such as Isamu Noguchi and George Rickey, influenced Emery’s work both aesthetically and structurally. In the 1970s, Emery began using internal ball bearings and wind to facilitate motion, allowing her to capture the graceful, spontaneous movements that have made her mesmeric sculptures instantly recognizable. Emery’s work is featured in many prestigious public and private collections around the globe, including the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Hunter Museum of American Art, and the Chrysler Museum of Art. Over her nearly 70-year career, she has been honored with numerous awards and accolades and has executed over 40 major architectural commissions. Among these include the Opus Award from the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Grand Prize for Public Sculpture from the Osaka Prefecture in Japan, the New Orleans Mayor's Award for Achievement, and the Louisiana Governor’s Arts Award.


Special thanks to The Heller Estate, The Louis A. and Lilian L. Glazer Foundation, Carole Jacobsen, and Nancy Lassen. Catering will be provided by Southern Hospitality Catering

About SweetArts

Since 1986, SweetArts has served as the CAC’s premier annual fundraising event to support the fulfillment of our mission to present diverse and exciting multidisciplinary contemporary arts programming, including visual arts, performing arts, and education and public programming.

SweetArts recognizes exceptional and diverse artists, performers, educators and philanthropists whose influence and contributions shape New Orleans’ arts and culture community. Unlike any other gala or ball, SweetArts offers an artistic experience with unique flair, engaging entertainment, and creative food and beverage offerings from over a dozen vendors. 

SweetArts traditionally consists of a Patron Party as a festive and intimate opportunity to recognize SweetArts honorees, followed by an interactive, high-energy Gala celebration in our newly renovated building. SweetArts annually targets (5,000+) and attracts (500+) regional arts patrons and young professionals (30-70 years of age) and offers sponsors great visibility and opportunity to cultivate new patrons, entertain clients, and make a significant impact in providing access to contemporary art for diverse local audiences.

2020/2021 SweetArts Honorees

In keeping with the CAC's 36-year SweetArts tradition of recognizing artistic leaders, the CAC honors the following contributors to the art community of New Orleans:

Lin Emery – Visual Arts

Kesha McKey – Performing Arts

MK Wegmann – Community Support 

Rhesa and Alden McDonald – Philanthropy

Tucker Fitz-Hugh, Jr. – In memoriam

Shelley Middleberg – In memoriam

Sponsorship Levels

Attracting regional arts patrons, professionals, advocates, and supporters, SweetArts offers the opportunity to connect with local contemporary artists and provide generous and impactful support for the exhibitions, programs, and performances produced by New Orleans’ only Contemporary Arts Center.  Sponsors of SweetArts enact on their values to support the arts and artists of our community.

SweetArts Ticket | $350 per person

  • Admission to the 2021 SweetArts Finale on May 8, 2021

SweetArts Toast Package | $2,500

  • 4 tickets to the 2021 SweetArts Finale on May 8, 2021
  • Opportunity to make a toast to one of the SweetArts Honorees
  • Recognition in SweetArts 2021 program, invitation, and website

Patron Package| $5,000

  • 4 tickets to the 2021 SweetArts Finale on May 8, 2021
  • Opportunity to make a toast to one of the SweetArts Honorees
  • Recognition in SweetArts 2021 program, invitation, and website
  • Promotion as a Champion of the Arts throughout the event series and pre-event marketing

For questions or inquiries, please contact Ann Kerrin, Development Manager, at akerrin@cacno.org.