Big Night for Big Cats

On the evening of October 29 at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, more than 40 guests gathered for a night of fine-art sculpture and exquisite dining in support of National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative. Hosted by National Geographic, Ritz-Carlton, and Pure Sculpture, the event provided guests with a unique opportunity to learn about our mission to help stop the decline of big cats through the medium of sculpture.

The event began with an hour of delectable spirits and hors d’oeuvres; each guest was warmly greeted by Pure Sculpture founders Christy Coltrin, Bill Jesse, and Brad Oldham. A catalyst for many exciting conversations, Oldham’s latest sculpture in support of the Big Cats Initiative, Together, was on display throughout the room. From the first glimpse of the desktop and tabletop edition prototypes in wax and clay, Together delighted attendees. In addition to the sculptures, guests were privy to a special peek behind the Pure Sculpture curtain, as videos of the sculpture-making process played on a large screen. Guests also had the opportunity to view the Lion Series book and accessories.

By 7:30 p.m. the adjoining dining room doors opened, revealing the breathtaking halflife size Together sculpture. The gorgeous dining room seemed aglow with a spectacular bronze light from the desktop editions of Together that served as centerpieces on each table. Once guests were seated, Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, General Manager Roberto van Geenen and Victoria Gottlieb, from their corporate office, welcomed everyone to the event. After an introduction by Pure Sculpture’s Chairman and CEO Bill Jesse, Alex Moen, Vice President of Explorer Programs for National Geographic, spoke to the group about the mission of the Big Cats Initiative and the significance of this cause. The presentations concluded with Oldham, who spoke about his inspiration for the Lion Series and his passion for saving big cats.

By the end of dinner, the room was filled with people committed to this important cause. Many guests were previously unaware of how endangered big cats have become and were intrigued to learn of the many ways they can help stop this decline. You can become a part of this mission too. Visit to learn how you can help save big cats from extinction. 

(left to right): Brad Oldham, Alex Moen, Victoria Gottlieb, and Roberto van Geenen

Brad Oldham, sculptor and co-founder of Pure Sculpture

(left to right): Pure Sculpture’s Brad Oldham with Liz Levy and Alex Moen from the National Geographic Society

Pure Sculpture artist Jessica Jesse admires the Together half life size clay model.

The Ritz-Carlton staff passed around delicious appetizers during the cocktail hour.

Ritz-Carlton chef Todd Sabo created an outstanding menu for the event, complete with wine pairings for each course.

Each of the four courses was served by attentive Ritz-Carlton personnel.

A petite 4.5” high and 8.375” wide, the Together desktop edition makes a perfect gift.

As the double doors to the dining room opened, guests got a first look at the bronze half life size edition of Together.

The magnificent half life size Together sculpture was the guest of honor the dinner.

Bill Jesse, CEO of Pure Sculpture, welcomed guests.

National Geographic’s Alex Moen kept guests engaged and interested as he detailed the Society’s work to save big cats. Guests were especially interested in the tremendous impact of building fences for livestock. 

Alex Moen and Brad Oldham had many individual conversations with guests during the course of the evening. Guest left the evening knowing more about the Big Cats Initiative and about Alex and Brad personally.

 All images by James Edward

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