California Science Center’s annual ball honors Rich Maya

On Saturday, April 1st, 2023, the California Science Center Foundation hosted its 24th Annual Discovery Ball where 600 guests dined and danced “Under the Maya Sky.”

This year’s theme was inspired by the Science Center’s newest exhibit, Maya.

Who is sponsoring the gala?

Thanks to the generosity of presenting sponsor United Airlines and many other generous donors, the Discovery Ball achieved its revenue goal of $1.5 million in support of educational exhibits, programs and operations of the Science Center.

This includes more than $200,000 to underwrite education program scholarships for young students facing financial barriers.

“We are grateful for the wonderful generosity of our sponsors and guests, particularly United Airlines, our gala presenting sponsor, who have continued to support the Science Center,” remarked California Science Center President and CEO, Jeff Rudolph.

“Proceeds from our signature fundraiser enable us to provide exceptional science learning and education opportunities for our communities.”

The guest experience at the gala

Gala guests were among the first to journey through this Mesoamerican exhibitwhere they marveled at an impressive collection of over 250 authentic Maya artifacts.

Many of which are on tour outside of Guatemala for the first time, including a majestic 9-foot-long sculpture of a jaguar warrior, and a stunning jade mask.

Attendees were transported to the Yucatán peninsula to the rhythm of live marimba music accompanied by Maya cultural dance group, Ajpop Tecum.

Through an explosion of color, the museum space was transformed with the use of authentic Guatemalan textiles, Mesoamerican-inspired art, picturesque hacienda backdrops, and bright flowers and lights.

Guests enjoyed a decadent dinner for the last gala beneath the wings of Endeavour in its current location of the Samuel Oschin Pavilion.

Before the space shuttle is moved to its new home in the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, currently under construction — and danced under a projection of the Maya night sky to a live 12-piece “Miami Sound Machine” cover band.

Added amenities to the Ball

They also had the opportunity to enjoy a quieter, more soothing environment in a separate area, fully equipped with delectable stations of artisan chocolates.

A Mexican Hot Chocolate and Guatemalan Coffee Bar, and a Mezcal tasting with a Mezcal Sommelier.

By the end of the evening, which included guests generously participating in a lively auction and raise-the-paddle, the gala had raised $1.5 million for the Science Center’s mission of stimulating curiosity.

This also inspired science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences — and what a memorable experience this Discovery Ball was!

The attendees of the Discovery Ball

Among those in attendance were the Honorable José Arturo Rodriguez Díaz, Consul General of Guatemala in Los Angeles, as well as respected local, state, and federal US elected officials.

Also including: United States Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove; Former California Governor Gray Davis; California State Senators Steve BradfordLola Smallwood-Cuevas and former Senator Roderick Wright.

The California State Assembly members Wendy Carrillo and Reggie Jones-Sawyer; Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell; Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; Los Angeles City Council member Curren Price and former Council President Herb Wesson.

The evening’s Master of Ceremonies was NBC Host and Correspondent, Gadi Schwartz. Among other guests were former NASA astronauts, Danny Olivas and Garrett Reisman; and NBC LA reporters, Kim Tobin and Conan Nolan.