By Ericka Alston Buck

If you live in the region and have been void of opportunities to dress up in your most creative, over-the-top artistic expression; while connecting with visual artists with absolute masterpieces on display; while devouring some of the best culinary art, prepared by our top Black chefs; with an opportunity to give back and support local nonprofits all while taking in a spectacular curated fashion show with over 100 models and missed the 2nd Annual Baltimore MET Gala on Aug. 26, then you missed an extraordinary experience.

The event amplifies the importance of the fundraising and philanthropy efforts in Baltimore. The Baltimore MET Gala was founded on the merits of service by Larian Finney and Derrick Chase.

“The core mission and major fabric of our team culture is being of service,” said Finney. 

On Aug. 26, every attendee had the opportunity to celebrate, honor and  recognize individuals and corporations that intentionally impact components critical to a thriving city–economic empowerment, community development, strong families, federal and city collaboration and a thriving arts scene.

Fundraising for this year’s non-profit, Park Heights Renaissance was a seamless continuation of the event’s mission.

In true Met Gala fashion, this year’s theme was “The Elements, Fire, Water, Air & Earth.”

There was so much thought and intentionality put forth by everyone in attendance to showcase their individual interpretation of each element; I chose Fire.

The venue was amazing. The Baltimore MET Gala was the first event held in the new three-story, $20 million M&T Bank Exchange events space. Organizers made perfect use of the entire space from the interactive and engaging live performances and models that welcomed us out front, to the vivid colorful “red” carpet clad with over 50 cameras and the paparazzi experience that left all of us feeling like royal, celebrated, superstars!

Upon entering we were awed by the genius art installations curated by Ernest Shaw  and A. DeVeaux.

With the unflattering headlines that normally plague us as a city, The Baltimore MET Gala was truly an experience that allowed you to escape all negativity and bask in the beautiful positivity that was a collaborative effort made by ticket holders, artists, models and organizers.

I knew after attending the inaugural event last year that I’d never miss it. I’d now consider the Baltimore MET Gala a premier, must attend annual event that is now a staple for me and any other lovers of fashion, art, food and philanthropy. The Gala did not miss a beat.

The VIP reception and seating was a reunion and gathering of our elected officials, honorees, those that lead agencies and communities making tremendous impact in our city, and Baltimore’s who’s who.

The fashion show, curated by Lana Rae and Earle Banister did not disappoint. Local designers, including Jody Davis, showed up and showed out with breathtaking designs on Baltimore’s most beautiful models.

I’m a little biased as my daughter, Akcire ‘Kiri’ Alston Buck graced the runway again this year while also being the face of the MET Gala, towering over Charles Street near Penn Station on a “mile high” billboard, distracting drivers and enticing onlookers to purchase tickets.

The Baltimore MET Gala represents what’s great and amazing about Baltimore and allows you to give back, honor others, eat great food, experience art and look amazing doing it! 

I’m already excited for next year, see you at The Baltimore MET Gala 2024!