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National Portrait Gallery

Updated: May 21, 2020

The National Portrait Gallery’s American Portrait Gala has become one of the most anticipated events of the year in Washington, DC. However, this year NPG expected its largest number of high-profile guests yet. Bond Events came on site not only to produce a meaningful event fit for its A-list honorees and presenters, but also to fully manage the talent both prior to and during the gala.

On November 17th, 2019, Bond Events put together what has been coined the “The Met Gala of D.C.” - The National Portrait Gallery’s American Portrait Gala. Bond Events provided pre-production and event management in full for the event. While this was the third year NPG hosted the gala, it became an evening of firsts. Never before had the Portrait Gallery welcomed such a large number of A-list celebrities and high profile honorees and influencers into the space.

To celebrate this, Bond Events implemented a full-length red carpet with media access for guest arrivals. To best facilitate media interviews, Bond choreographed a detailed, tight timeline in which the team handled the transportation of each presenter or honoree from the staging area to the red carpet with precision.

Behind the scenes, each A-list participant was assigned a dedicated Talent Handler for the weekend. This individual became the go-to contact for any need that arose and reported that need directly to the Bond Events team to quickly provide a solution. Bond Events managed the talent in a way that was A-list quality and ensured the American Portrait Gala was such a success.

To close out the night, Bond Events coordinated the first-ever high profile band to come into the space - Earth, Wind & Fire. The team directly managed the band in full, from the musicians themselves to their crew managers. Given the unique set up of the National Portrait Gallery space, Bond was especially thoughtful when finalizing the configuration of the stage. The team had the knowledge to figure out what best fit in the room and maximized this to everyone’s advantage, marrying an award show alongside a major concert seamlessly. In the end, the stage was bigger and more detailed than the National Portrait Gallery had seen previously.

There were 730 attendees with 6 newly inducted Portrait of the Nation prize honorees – Jeff Bezos, Anna Wintour, Earth, Wind & Fire, Dr. Arnold, Indra Nooyi, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The portraits were presented by Preston Bezos, James Corden, Clive Davis, France Cordova, Albert Ibargüen and Michelle Obama. Media following the event was outstanding and overwhelmingly positive, including articles from Vogue, USA Today, Elle, Huffington Post, Washington Post, Politico, Washingtonian, New York Times, and Vanity Fair.

Bond's Approach

  1. Bond managed the overall coordination and management of the event in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery.

  2. Implemented a full-length red carpet to celebrate the arrival of honorees and presenters.

  3. Facilitated media interviews by creating and implementing a precise timeline for red carpet arrivals.

  4. Brought the first ever high-profile band – Earth, Wind & Fire - to NPG for an unforgettable show.

  5. Overcame NPG’s room limitations to create a custom stage that married an award show with a live concert seamlessly.

  6. Offered A-list quality care to honorees and presenters by assigning each a designated Talent Handler to handle any individual needs that arose.

  7. Coordinated all accommodation and transportation for event talent prior to the gala as well as transportation during the event between the stage and red carpet as needed.

  8. Managed the technical direction, stage build-out and all A/V and lighting needs.

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