THE SOCIAL STAGE
San Francisco, California has a thriving culture of what is often referred to as high society. This small group of wealthy people attends numerous glamorous social events with each other throughout the year to financially support local cultural institutions and other charity organizations. The galas to celebrate the openings of the opera, symphony and ballet and those in support of local museums are some of the most high profile events for people who wish to be a part of such society. These elaborate events give participants a chance to dress up, mingle with one another and generally see and be seen. While some donors prefer to keep a low profile, those who attend the galas generally do so to put themselves on display and be part of the scene. Such an outright display of wealth may seem ostentatious to many outsiders, but the cultural institutions and other charity organizations in the city rely on the patronage of these donors for much of their funding. The parties are fundraisers that also serve to make patrons feel they are part of a special community.