The National Hellenic Museum’s Gala, one of Chicago’s most anticipated annual social events, raised approximately $950,000 in support of the museum’s mission of sharing the legacy of Hellenism, preserving the stories and honoring the contributions of Greek immigrants and Americans of Greek heritage to our nation.
“Our thread in the American flag is one to look at with admiration,” poet and author Paul J. Kachoris, M.D., said to guests in a video about the Museum’s mission. “We weave our culture, our traditions and ourselves into it. It is our duty to preserve these artifacts, our culture and the stories.”
The museum is grateful for the tireless efforts of Gala Co-Chairs, John S. Koudounis, President and CEO of Mizuho Securities USA Inc., and Aristotle Halikias, Chairman of Republic Bank and President of InterContinental Real Estate & Development, making this year’s most successful Gala in the Museum’s history.
It was a magical night at The Field Museum, with close to 800 guests from New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Boston and other cities around the country and abroad, including Athens, Greece. Thanos Petrelis, one of Greece’s most popular singers, brought down the house with an epic performance that continued late into the night and brought together fans of all ages.
“The incredible success that was experienced at the National Hellenic Museum Gala was an extraordinary expression of the passion we as Hellenes have for our culture and our heritage and our National Hellenic Museum,” said Halikias.
Koudounis said he’s honored and humbled by the overwhelming national support the museum received for this year’s event. “I am glad that people share my passion to make the National Hellenic Museum an incubator of Hellenism.”
The proceeds will support the non-profit organization’s mission as the only national institution dedicated to collecting, preserving, sharing, and celebrating Greek history, culture, and the Greek American experience.
With new exhibitions and programs, the museum is seeing a growth in attendance and is preparing for an even larger influx of visitors through its partnership with The Field Museum and the major Greek exhibit, which arrives this fall, according to NHM Executive Director Elizabeth Martin.
“Our opportunity to partner with the Field Museum is unprecedented and a great opportunity to elevate the awareness of the National Hellenic Museum by providing thought-provoking complimentary exhibits and programs that further tell the story of The Greeks: Agamemnon through Alexander,” said Martin. “We are grateful for the leadership that our Chairman of the Board of Trustees, John P. Calamos, Sr. showed by providing the funding needed to secure the exhibit and bring it to the Field Museum of Chicago, one of only two stops in the United States.”
Located in Chicago’s Greektown, the sleek 40,000-square-foot National Hellenic Museum at 333. S. Halsted St. is both contemporary and timeless, connecting all generations—past, present and future—to the rich heritage of Greek history, culture, art and the Greek American experience. The National Hellenic Museum, previously known as the Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center, has been fulfilling this mission since 1983.
*Demetrios Rhombotis is the publisher of NEOmagazine, where this article firstly appeared.