2016-07-07 / Mainsheet

Record Turnout at Annual Beaux Arts Ball


Carol and Allen Hodges Carol and Allen Hodges Nearly 400 guests attended the Newport Art Museum’s annual Beaux Arts Ball on Saturday, July 2. With a projected revenue of more than $400,000–a record, according to a source–the museum dedicated its evening to the Benson family of Newport and its three generations of contributions to American art, design, and historical consciousness.

Honored were John Howard Benson (1901-1956), a graphic artist, calligrapher, stone carver and educator, and his wife Esther Fisher Smith Benson (1908- 1999). Honored as well were their sons, stone carver John “Fud” Benson and his two sons, Nicholas (also a stone carver) and Christopher (a painter); Richard (a photographer, printer, and teacher), and Thomas (1936-1987), a historic preservationist and co-founder of Newport’s Operation Clapboard; and his two sons, Oliver (a painter) and Samuel (a sculptor).


Molly and Tenley de Ramel Molly and Tenley de Ramel In 1927 the senior Benson bought the John Stevens Shop in Newport which, three generations later, continues to thrive, etching in stone the final words (so to speak) for such American icons as JFK, Tennessee Williams, George Balanchine, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We share a passion for recognizing well-made objects,” said Fud. “Our family shared a confluence of genetic and behavioral influences, which bred in us a love of the artistic life.”

It was one of the most successful Beaux Arts fundraisers in recent memory. Co-chairs were Kristen Coates, Elizabeth Kahane, and Molly de Ramel. Rupert Nesbitt hosted the live paddle raise for Fund the Future. The Harlem Renaissance Orchestra provided the music.



Anthony M. Iacono and John Horton Anthony M. Iacono and John Horton

Fisher and Will Benson Fisher and Will Benson

Sarah Denby, Victoria Veh, and Charley Denby 
Photos byJen Carter Sarah Denby, Victoria Veh, and Charley Denby Photos byJen Carter

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