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Fabulous Houston crowd strikes a chord for Marc Anthony's charity

Fabulous Houston crowd strikes a chord for Marc Anthony's charity

Elia Gabbanelli Maestro Cares
Elia Gabbanelli wins big at the lively auction. Photo by Naranja Ducle Photography

Svelte and stylish crooner Marc Anthony may not have been in attendance, but no doubt the international heartthrob would’ve been impressed with the suave and fab crowd attending his Maestro Cares Foundation’s Afternoon of Music, Art & Giving event.

The ritzy luncheon and (at times) raucous auction — the first-ever Houston event — was held at Art of the World Gallery, the perfect canvas for renowned graffiti artist Mr. Brainwash and his buzzworthy exhibit “No Rules in Life.” Crafty Caps & Bold created an artful environment picture perfect for an artsy affair.

A sumptuous, multi-course meal cooked up by Frida Valentina Catering was followed by an inspirational video and speeches by various hosts. A check presentation to Houston’s Community Family Centers drew thunderous applause.

Always regal and elegant, Art of the World owners Mauricio Vallejo and Liliana Molina graciously welcomed attendees. (The owners also pledged 5 percent of Art of the World September sales towards the Maestro Cares cause.) Charming event hosts Claudia Ayala, Perla Tamez, and Bianca Bucaram — each successful businesswomen in their own right — also made remarks and welcomed visitors.

Emcee Eglantina Zingg, popular for her philanthropy and international TV host appearances on MTV and who flew in from Miami for the event, personally greeted each guest and charmed and wowed the crowd.

Speaking of the crowd: The elegant, fashionable gathering went positively electric during the lively auction. Bidders quickly waved their large, heart-shaped paddles to win items including masterful pieces by Mexican artist Karla de Lara, as well as an envied work from Mr. Brainwash himself.

Arguably the event’s highlight was a friendly and hilarious bidding war between fashionista and society star Elia Gabbanelli and Tamez. “Table Eight is going on vacation!” exclaimed Gabbanelli as she won a coveted Mexican getaway.

A little about Maestro Cares: Founded in 2012 by Marc Anthony and prominent businessman and philanthropist Henry Cardenas, the nonprofit fosters safe and healthy environments for children to live, learn and play, while also supporting their developmental and academic needs.

Currently, the organization boasts 22 projects in 13 countries and territories, with several projects underway in Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, and Guatemala. In total, Maestro Cares has raised more than $10 million to aid kids in need.

Fan and fashionable guests included: Elena Sotomayor, Dr. Ricardo Flores, Marisol Carrillo, Tatiana Ortiz, Rafael Toro, Mayte Sera Weitzman, James Casanovas, Tom Ramsey, Alina Richard, Karla de Lara, Maritza Guerrero, and Sarah Leftwich.