Cathy Busch on Chairing Upcoming Art Institute Gala & Philanthropy

One of the highly anticipated exhibits making its way to Chicago this summer will open to the public June 24 at the Art Institute of Chicago. Magritte:The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938 curated by Stephanie D’Alessandro was organized in conjunction with The Art Institute, The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Menil Collection, Houston. As is the case in the past with big summer art exhibits, the Women’s Board of The Art Institute of Chicago will host their annual gala to fete this exhibit and give guests in attendance an opportunity to preview the exhibit.
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In preparation for the big gala, we chatted with this years gala chair Mrs.  Catherine Busch.  Mrs. Busch’s  resume definitely someone rising stars like us can aspire to it includes executive position at Sotheby’s, time at the White House during President Ronald Reagan’s tenure, serving  as Press Secretary and Director of Public Affairs to President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan in Los Angeles from 1989 until 1995 and owning her own PR firm.
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SociaLifeChicago: How did you get involved with the Art Institute?
Cathy Busch: Like so many, I have been visiting the museum since I was little on field trips and family trips, for as long as I can remember. As a young girl, I was mesmerized by the Thorne Rooms (the miniature rooms that feature European interiors created by Mrs. James Ward Thorne in the 30’s). Each room is an absolute jewel box because of its attention to detail and historical accuracy. I have no doubt that this is what sparked my interest in classic interiors and caused me to become a design junkie at an early age! My connection with the museum was immediate, I suppose. I have always felt at home there.

SLC: What is it about the Art Institute that inspires you?
CGB: Regardless of who you ask, everyone has a favorite room or work of art in the museum that feeds his or her soul. Art is inherently emotional. Regardless of your background or your station in life, art changes you in a way that can’t be measured. When people climb the stairs on Michigan Avenue and pass by the bronze lions at the entrance, we know they will be changed in some way when they leave. They will have connected on some level to the essence of being human. They may gain respect for a new viewpoint or feel renewed empathy for another. Perhaps they will experience beauty like never before. I can’t imagine anything else so pure.

SLC: Why is it important for the next generation of emerging leaders to continue to sustain our civic institutions?
CGB: Chicago has a longstanding tradition of service to our institutions. The legacy of giving in Chicago is truly unique – perhaps unlike any other city in the country. The foundation of this city is built on philanthropy – through robust corporate support, the passion of many of Chicago’s founding families, the partnership with a dynamic business community and the commitment of city leaders. It’s this combination of forces that gets the job done.

I’ve had some amazing role models in the women who serve these Chicago institutions. These are women who have really made a difference through creative fundraising, strategic thinking and years of service in leadership positions. Many of these women are active at the Art Institute of Chicago and they inspire me to roll up my sleeves. One cannot underestimate the effectiveness of a group of determined women, you know! We can be quite formidable when we put our minds to a task!

SLC: How have you managed to have time for philanthropy while paving an enviable career path?
CGB: I have been privileged to work at Sotheby’s, which has nurtured my love and appreciation for art of all periods and disciplines. It seems natural that my professional and personal interests would intersect at the Art Institute of Chicago. I’ve found that in addition to work and raising children, there’s still time to volunteer your time and talent.

SLC: How did you go about mapping the boards you committed your time to?
CB: I am privileged to be involved with a number of remarkable institutions in Chicago – all of whom serve the public interest and enhance Chicago’s standing as a world-class city for conservation, art, history and medicine. Honestly, I never mapped things out. I just said “yes” when people I respected asked me to get involved. I’m so glad I did!
René Magritte (Belgian, 1898–1967). The False Mirror (Le Faux Miroir), 1928.
The Women’s Board of the Art Institute Chicago in partnership with the Board of Trustees will host a “Surrealistically Chic” Gala on Friday June 20. To celebrate the opening of the highly anticipated exhibition, Magritte: Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938.

The Gala Host Committee will be some of Chicago(and ‘burbs) power players:

Nancy Carrington and Arie Steven Crown
Kenneth C. Griffin
Mr. and Mrs. King Harris
Mr. and Mrs. John Harris
Timothy P. Maloney
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel M. Mencoff
Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas J. Pritzker
Mr. and Mrs. J. Christopher Reyes
Patrick G. and Shirley Welsh Ryan
Cari and Michael J. Sacks
Brenda Shapiro

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