Better Makers: Kohl Children’s Museum Hosts a Colorful ‘Evening to Imagine’ Gala

Blue, green, and dressed to theme! With a vibrant twist on black-tie, Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago held its premiere event, “An Evening to Imagine.” Embracing the power of play, the 33rd annual gala was truly a colorful night to remember.

Held Oct. 19 at Revel Fulton Market, the celebration raised over $380,000 in support of the museum’s beloved educational programming and services. Through 17 interactive exhibits, the museum fosters learning through self-directed complex play.

Complementing the museum’s latest access and inclusion program — Kohl Children’s Pop-Up Museum — over 300 guests arrived in their finest, creative black-tie attire for this year’s theme, “POP: The Art of the Possible.”

Piloting in 2018, the free pop-up museum has significantly expanded. This year alone, the exhibit has reached over 6,000 students and families in Waukegan, North Chicago, and Round Lake Beach.

Chicago band Final Say served as the soundtrack of the evening. With a gourmet dinner by Limelight, dancing, and a live and silent auction, it’s safe to say it was “An Evening to Imagine.”

Gala co-chairs John F. Ball, Jr., Sonia Esler, and Grith Funk were joined by local philanthropists, including the museum’s newly-appointed President and CEO Mike Delfini and Founder Dolores Kohl.

“Early childhood education experts worldwide agree on one critical fact: play is how a child learns,” said Delfini in his opening remarks. “While we provide a playful learning experience to tens of thousands of kids on-site at the museum, it is also our mission to provide that same experience to kids where the barriers to reach us are too great.”

kohl children's museum: Dolores Kohl, Tony Licata
Museum Founder Dolores Kohl and Tony Licata
kohl children's museum: Sonia Esler, Anika Chase
Sonia Esler and Anika Chase
kohl children's museum: Bernard Bartilad, Carrie Allen-Hughes, Michael Herman
Bernard Bartilad, Carrie Allen-Hughes, and Michael Herman
kohl children's museum: Grith Funk, Don Funk
Don and Grith Funk during the live auction
kohl children's museum: Kilby Macfadden, Bill Macfadden
Bill and Kilby Macfadden
kohl children's museum: BOJITT, performance artist
Chicago-based performance artist BOJITT produced a one-of-a-kind painting during the cocktail hour for the live auction.
kohl children's museum: Revel Fulton Market
Dinner during An Evening to Imagine at Revel Fulton Market.

Emily Stone earned a degree in journalism from Elon University in North Carolina. Along with writing, Stone has a passion for digital storytelling and photography. Her work has been published in Chicago Athlete Magazine. Stone is a supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Stone is a fluent Spanish speaker who in her free time loves a good dance class.