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The Conservancy Gala

Luminous, reflective, wondrous, unique, unpredictable, edgy, stylish, architectural, conceptual, resplendent, sparkling, fabulous, performance art, sophisticated, explosion of tingly energy for the senses, eclectic mix of partygoers - Welcome to The Conservancy’s 2018 major fundraiser, The Conservancy Gala Then & Now: Gondolas and Grottos. Mara Papatheodorou and Sarah Sperling have been busy creating a Gala you won’t want to miss.

Since 2010, our Gala fundraisers have supported programs, services and initiatives for the Parthenon and Centennial Park, two of Nashville’s treasured icons, spanning the areas of arts, culture, education, architecture, health and wellness, history, literature, science, mathematics, environment and more. With over 300,000 visiting the Parthenon and more than 2 million visiting the park each year, our support is even more crucial.

Please join us at this year’s Gala and support The Conservancy. We look forward to seeing you November 3rd.

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2018 Gala Chairs

Gala Co-Chairs

  • Mara Papatheodorou
  • Sarah Sperling

Honorary Gala Chairs

  • Clare Armistead
  • Ellen Martin
  • Hope Stringer

Mara Papatheodorou has been on The Conservancy Board since 2016. She is a “Tastes and Traditions” expert, a nationally established entertaining specialist, author of coffee table books, a contributor to National Geographic Traveler Magazine and has been a Bon Appetit Magazine editor. Her extensive knowledge and sense of humor make her a popular guest lecturer, host, competition panelist/judge and presenter about food, travel and entertaining. She has interpreted the cuisine and experienced the culture of over 70 countries worldwide.

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Sarah Sperling, a Nashville native with over 18 years of auction and fine art experience, is Director of the Nashville office for Brunk Auctions. Sarah worked in New York City at Sotheby’s and Christie’s as well as for two prominent antique dealers before returning to her hometown four years ago. She is currently on the Alumni Board of the University School of Nashville, a member of the downtown Rotary Club and has served as a juror for Artclectic and Art on the Westside art shows. Sarah frequently lectures on various topics related to art, antiques and the auction market.

Gala Committee

Clare Armistead

Meera Ballal & Seenu Reddy

Judy & Joe Barker

Jim Berkeley

Melinda & John Buntin

Libby Callaway

Leslie & Dale Chihuly

Beth & Richard Courtney

Gerri Winchell Findley

Alizah Greenberg

Marlene Hays

Nancy Peterson Hearn

Demetria Kalodimos

Ruth Knab

Jennifer Lee & William Stebbins

Ellen Martin

Vickie Mertz

Trish & Jim Munro

Lee Pratt & Neil Krugman

Hunter Claire Rogers

Samantha Saturn & Steve Kravitz

Monica & Daniel Scokin

Steve Sirls & Allen DeCuyper

Ben Sistrunk

Katy Smith

Mary & Michael Spalding

Cathie & Harvey Sperling

Hope Stringer

Josephine VanDevender & Giles Ward

Paula Van Slyke & LeRoy Norton

Colleen Conway Welch

About The Conservancy

The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park is a for-purpose 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to preserve, enhance and share the Parthenon and Centennial Park so that all future generations may benefit from these enriching cultural and educational landmarks. Although we are a separately chartered organization, The Conservancy was organized with the cooperation of the Metro Parks and Recreation Department.

The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park began in 1982 as the Athena Fund when nickels and dimes were collected by school children and adult visitors to pay for the creation of the statue Athena. Upon completion of this project in 1990, we became Parthenon Patrons. In 2005, The Conservancy Board of Directors voted to expand the mission and scope of our work to include Centennial Park, and since 2009 the organization has been called The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park.

Through private donations and fundraisers, The Conservancy funds programs, services and initiatives for the Parthenon and Centennial Park spanning the areas of arts, culture, education, architecture, health and wellness, history, literature, science, mathematics, environment and more.

The Parthenon and our 132-acre Centennial Park have been essential parts of our city’s fabric for more than a century. As a support organization, The Conservancy is committed to strengthening, enhancing and restoring these two Nashville crown jewels for the next century and beyond, ensuring that they are a place for fun, a place for music, a place for art and a place to gather. We are privileged to be an organization that contributes in a meaningful way to the enrichment of our community.

Learn More at

2018 Gala Décor Designer and Event Planner: Big Events Inc.