La Dolce Vita, A Celebration of Family and Texas History

The Bryan Museum La Dolce Vita Gala 2023 –
Celebrating the Italian American Contribution to Texas History

WHEN:                       Saturday, March 25, 2023
WHERE:                    The Bryan Museum  
CO-CHAIRS:             Kate and Jim Lykes
AUCTION CO-CHAIRS:   D’Lisa and John Johnston
HONOREE:               Johnny Carrabba    
FEATURING:             Richard Brown Orchestra
BENEFITING:            The Bryan Museum’s Educational and Outreach Programming

What better man to be honored at The Bryan Museum’s La Dolce 2023 gala than the incomparable and remarkableJohnny Carrabba?  Johnny was presented with the 6th Annual Buck ‘N Ball Award. Like the Italians who settled in Texas long ago, has ensured Italian culture in Texas is alive and well and enjoyed by so many. He and his family have shaped the modern-day story of our state.

The extraordinary two-night affair kicked off Friday, March 24th with an unforgettable evening beginning with an elegant cocktail reception followed by a intimate and at times, emotional, arm-chair chat with museum founder, JP Bryan and event Honoree, Johnny Carrabba about the important contributions Italians made to Texas History in the beautiful European conservatory. With his parents on the front row, Johnny proudly shared his family’s legacy. From his grandparents’ immigration to Texas and their hard work to establish themselves in a new country, to running the family grocery store and the multi-generational love of creating good food.

The evening of Saturday, March 25th was reserved for gala glamour and “la allegria” complementing the weekend’s La Dolce Vita themed celebration. Guests were welcomed with a glass of Prosecco from a vintage 1954 Chevy Tap Truck serenaded by opera and quintessential accordion as they arrived for cocktails amid the emerald green velvet sofas and chairs under the stars of the gala’s outdoor cocktail lounge.

Dinner for 270 was set with custom black lace and sequined linens designed and created in New York along with exotic table arrangements of green cymbidium orchids, white dendrobium orchids and explorer red roses imported from Ecuador created by Island Flowers. The evening’s honoree, Johnny Carrabba, treated gala guests to an authentic Italian meal curated from a family recipe.

Shaking things up for La Dolce Vita, the museum presented a pop-up immersive exhibit of famous Italians that made artistic contributions to early Texas. Think Sergio Leone, champion of the “spaghetti western” and the dollars trilogy (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) or Pompeo Coppini who produced some of the most recognizable statues and monuments in the state including the Alamo Cenotaph and The Victims of the Galveston Flood has been missing since 1919 and John“Johnny” Charles Carrabba III for his contribution to the hospitality history of Houston,  his families legacy and how they hope to continue that history of feeding Houstonians.

Adding to the sizzling display of Texas-Italian culture, the museum unveiled Carnevale Di Venezia, the signature mural commissioned by The George Mitchell family for the 1988 Carnevale Di Venezia or Venetian Carnival themed Galveston Mardi Gras.  The mural is a whopping 20’ x 40’ and has not been seen for 35 years.

La Dolce Vita concluded with Italian ices and coffee cart and a violin serenade at valet.

AMOUNT RAISED:  $650,000

PHOTO CREDIT: Dave Rossman