On September 23, MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, crafted an extraordinarily innovative inaugural fundraiser onsite at the museum. MOXI@Night kept the sold-out crowd of 425 guests entertained throughout the evening, while raising $425,000 to further its mission of igniting learning through interactive experiences in science and creativity.
A VIP reception for top-level sponsors kicked off the evening in the Sky Garden, MOXI’s expansive rooftop terrace with stunning panoramic views. Some guests opted to relax in the comfy lounge furniture positioned throughout the space, while others mingled and stood in awe of the views. Celebrity chef Marcel Vigneron from Wolf, one of LA’s hottest new restaurants (no affiliation to Dick and Noelle Wolf, for whom the museum is named), provided a fun cooking demonstration, explaining molecular gastronomy concepts, before staff passed around samples of olive spheres with an egg yolk-like consistency and other transformed culinary creations. (Molecular gastronomy investigates the physical and chemical transformation of ingredients that occur in cooking).
The party spread throughout the museum’s entire 17,000 square feet, where guests were free to indulge in any of the 70 hands-on interactive exhibits and experiences. There was also a riveting virtual reality experience not open to the general public.
The always entertaining Andrew Firestone coordinated a high tech silent auction, with items displayed throughout the museum and bidding taking place through guests’ cellphones.
Duo Catering staff were at every turn with passed appetizers, while a buffet line offered more hearty gourmet fare.
Dancers from Santa Barbara Centre for Aerial Dance mesmerized the crowd in the Fantastic Forces Courtyard. Director Ninette Paloma choreographed performance art on trapeze and lyra to complement the molecular gastronomy being served. Moscow mules infused with smoked pineapple foam and dry ice gave guests a fun, explode-in-the-mouth experience.
Dueling DJs provided the dance tunes in the Sky Garden, including during the “Silent Disco” portion, when wireless LED-lit headphones were distributed to the partying crowd along with light up accessories and glow toys. Dancing went well into the night.
MOXI opened last February after more than 20 years of planning and a $25 million capital campaign. Since then, more than 135,000 visitors have passed through its doors. MOXI’s mission of igniting learning through interactive experiences in science and creativity is based on the premise that education comes through engagement and enjoyment. Many of the exhibits are designed for children and adults alike.
The 70 hands-on and interactive exhibits and experiences, designed by award-winning Gyroscope, Inc., are grouped into seven topic areas: Sound, Fantastic Forces, Tech, Speed, Light, Interactive Media, and Sky Garden. The exhibits and experiences periodically change to create a new experience for returning guests.
This summer, MOXI ran 10 weeks of summer camps, which served 200 campers, and has a Thanksgiving camp coming up. It piloted an afterschool class with the United Boys and Girls Club last spring and another class, the digital creativity FireWorkShop, just began. MOXI has hosted field trips from groups from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles. A five-year $500,000 challenge grant from the Babich Family Foundation seeks to support scholarships for these programs as well as support for other education programs.
For more info about MOXI, go to moxi.org.
By Gail Arnold