A Hot Night in Atlanta: Inside the High Museum’s Driskell Gala and Afterparty

Guggenheim deputy director and chief curator Naomi Beckwith was the this year's Driskell C. Driskell Prize honoree.

The Guggenheim’s Naomi Beckwith with Director of the High Museum of Art Rand Suffolk. All photos by Rafterman / Courtesy of The High Museum of Art

Several events are billed as the “Met Gala of the South,” among them the High Museum of Art’s David C. Driskell Prize Gala, which on April 26 brought more than 250 artists, curators, musicians, designers and art aficionados to the institution for a black tie evening of red carpet mingling, dinner, dancing and celebration.

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The annual event honors the winner of the Driskell Prize in African American Art and Art History—the first award in the country to recognize the contributions to contemporary art by Black artists and scholars. This year’s prize went to Naomi Beckwith, who became the Guggenheim’s first Black deputy director and chief curator in 2021. Since then, she has made significant contributions to the field of African American art with her scholarship on Black identity in contemporary art and her work amplifying the work of African American artists. J. Tomilson Hill, chairman of the Guggenheim’s board, has called her a “catalytic thinker.”

As always, the gala attracted Atlanta’s see-and-be-seen set who rubbed elbows with art world insiders like curator Valerie Cassel Oliver, Nickol Hackett of the Joyce Foundation, HGTV’s Mike Jackson, futurist and designer El Lewis, stylist Jerrimiah James, artist Charly Palmer, Tanya Sam of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, HGTV’s Egypt Sherrod and artist Tyler Mitchell (who will have a solo exhibition at the High Museum this June). Sergio Hudson, winner of Bravo TV’s “Styled to Rock” and best known for dressing Vice President Kamala Harris and former First Lady Michelle Obama, dressed several of the gala’s attendees.

DJ Princess Cut and Mike “Killer Mike” Render getting the gala afterparty started. All photos by Rafterman / Courtesy of The High Museum of Art

This was the first Driskell Gala with an official afterparty, helmed by DJ Princess Cut and the Grammy-winning DJ Drama. Before the evening’s end, rapper and activist Killer Mike jumped up to take the tables for a spin.

Cristal Steverson and Sergio Hudson

Cristal Steverson, Sergio Hudson. All photos by Rafterman / Courtesy of The High Museum of Art

Scott Uzzell and Sunda Uzzell

Scott Uzzell, Sunda Uzzell. All photos by Rafterman / Courtesy of The High Museum of Art

Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell. Photo by Rafterman / Courtesy of The High Museum of Art

Karen Comer-Lowe and Leslie Parks Bailey

Karen Comer-Lowe, Leslie Parks Bailey. All photos by Rafterman / Courtesy of The High Museum of Art

El Lewis and Leslie Parks Bailey

El Lewis, Leslie Parks Bailey. All photos by Rafterman / Courtesy of The High Museum of Art

Eva Marcille and Jason Halliburton

Eva Marcille, Jason Halliburton. All photos by Rafterman / Courtesy of The High Museum of Art

Monique Meloche and Ebony Patterson

Monique Meloche, Ebony Patterson. All photos by Rafterman / Courtesy of The High Museum of Art

Tanya Sam

Tanya Sam. All photos by Rafterman / Courtesy of The High Museum of Art

Charlene Crusoe-Ingram and Earnest Ingram

Charlene Crusoe-Ingram, Earnest Ingram. All photos by Rafterman / Courtesy of The High Museum of Art

Nikki Crump, Sunda Uzzell, Naomi Beckwith, Charlene Crusoe-Ingram, Robyn Wallace, Louise Sams

Nikki Crump, Sunda Uzzell, Naomi Beckwith, Charlene Crusoe-Ingram, Robyn Wallace, Louise Sams. All photos by Rafterman / Courtesy of The High Museum of Art

Kent Kelley and Tamara Kelley

Kent Kelley, Tamara Kelley. All photos by Rafterman / Courtesy of The High Museum of Art

A Hot Night in Atlanta: Inside the High Museum’s Driskell Gala and Afterparty