The 33rd Annual Omelette Party is underway at OKCMOA with décor planning, chef preparations, art raffle creations, and ticket buyers enthusiastically preparing their costumes and rallying friends for this year’s themed event, Viva Las V-EGG-as.
As the third decade of OKCMOA’s beloved tradition nears, so does the enthusiasm of three generations of the Farris/Cunningham family—longstanding Members of the Museum who continue their involvement in the planning and execution of one of OKC’s most unique and exciting parties of the year. In 1985, Caroline Farris began working for OKCMOA—then known as the Oklahoma City Art Museum (OCAM)—in the sales and rental gallery, ArtsPlace, in which part of her role was cultivating preparations for the museum’s new fundraiser, Omelette Party.
“The concept for the Omelette party was actually conceived in a hot tub party by Terri and Tony Beals, Kay and John Adams, and George and Sharon Seminoff as a financial support for ArtsPlace,” Caroline Farris recalls.
Seminoff and Adams were the original Omelette Party chefs and now, 33 years later, more than 15 local chefs from some of Oklahoma City’s favorite restaurants participate in making gourmet egg dishes in the midst of one of the most vibrant parties in the city.
However, Farris recalls the humble beginnings of a simple fundraiser that started with a group of 20 arts enthusiasts including she and her husband, Les.
“This committee of 20 managed the fundraiser for years. In 1987, my husband Les and I went on the committee and worked tirelessly for over 25 years,” Farris says. “The committee, used to break all of the eggs, clarify all of the butter and buy all of the ingredients for the party and finally clean up and carry out the trash. But of course, it wasn’t very large in those days.”
Today, Farris’s daughter, Robin Cunningham, and granddaughter, Rachel Mann, serve on the Omelette Party committee. Robin co-chaired the event in 2008, served as the Omelette Party Chair in 2009, and her daughter Rachel will serve as the chair for next year’s event.
“I have grown up hearing ‘this is the best party in OKC’ and I believe it,” Cunningham says. “It is a fun fundraiser. For one ticket you get great art, fun music to dance to, delicious egg dishes and an open bar. You can dress up or down, you can dress like the theme of the party or casual. You also have the chance of winning amazing artwork by local artists. My husband and I have won at least 4 pieces of art from the past parties.”
The OKCMOA Annual Omelette Party has taken place at several different historical locations, including Leadership Square, in the lobby of old First National Bank building and the old Public Market building with the first few parties actually taking place in the museum galleries at the fairgrounds. Fast forward to 2017, the event is now held at the Chevy Bricktown Events Center where party-themed attire will rock the night. Each year the Omelette Party’s theme changes. From Eggie-Breaky-Heart to Poultrygeist, to Egg-Aissance and Moul-Egg Rouge, the Cunningham/Farris family has seen it all. This year’s Viva Las V-EGG-as is sure to bring out the costume lover in anyone.
“Most of the time we dress up to the theme,” says Robin’s husband, Paul Cunningham. “That is one of the things that makes it so fun.”
Rachel’s favorite aspect of Omelette Party is the gourmet egg dishes, but her support of the event comes from a love of the arts community.
“The Omelette Party brings together the entire OKC community to support the museum,” Rachel says. “You can see people young and old having a great time, and it’s all for a good cause. I love the history behind the party as well – there are people who have been on the committee for over 30 years and that legacy is really impressive to me. I love being a part of something that has been around for so long.”
Robin and Paul Cunningham became OKCMOA Members in 2004 and throughout the years, their children have continued their interest and involvement with the arts and volunteered with Omelette Party preparations. However, they’ll be the first to say it was Caroline Farris, their grandmother, who influenced their interest in the arts and Farris is proud of her family’s legacy and longtime support of OKCMOA.
“I am so proud and excited that, next year, my Grand darlin’ Rachel Mann, will be the new party chair,” Farris says. “Having three generations of my family serve as party chair exemplifies, to me, the extraordinary value of membership to the Oklahoma City Art Museum, by the positive influences it has had on my family’s appreciation of community involvement, love for the regional art community, and the rewards of working hard together for a common goal.”