text by Sara Johnson  photos courtesy of Phoenix Art Museum

Above: Last year’s sold-out crowd filled Cummings Hall, Independent Woman Luncheon 2018.

Now in its ninth year, the Independent Woman Luncheon has become one of the premier philanthropic events in the Valley, celebrating the contributions of creative, successful women as they support the arts and educational programming at Phoenix Art Museum. In years past, the event has featured high profile speakers like interior designer Amy Lau, HGTV star Sarah Richardson and tastemaker Carolyne Roehm.

The 2019 event is chaired by Char Hubble. Matthew Boland serves as honorary chair and Amy Cohn is the honorary committee member.  The team of returning committee members includes Molly Dalton, Katie Drost and Lisa Andrew Portigal. New to the committee this year are Ann Eve Berry, Michelle Cattaneo, Sarah Cattaneo, Lee Courtney, Jennifer Thye, Patricia Watts and Renee Weiss. This year’s event will feature another extraordinary keynote speaker: Cathy Graham.

Above: Cathy Graham, award-winning designer, artist, author  and fashion illustrator, will be the keynote speaker.


Based in New York, Graham is an award-winning designer, artist, author and fashion illustrator whose editorial work has appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone and New York Magazine. She has also been commissioned by Bergdorf Goodman, Estée Lauder, CBS Records and HBO, as well as serving  as a contributing editor for Elle Décor and House. 

Graham holds a BFA in painting from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). She then studied fashion illustration at Parsons School of Design. And, for more than a decade, Graham worked with the late floral designer and event planner Robert Isabell, noted for his unique lavish and innovative parties.

Above, top: Both tablescapes were designed by Cathy Graham. Bottom: A spread from Second Bloom: Cathy Graham’s Art of the Table.


Channeling this wealth of knowledge into her floral inspiration and product designs, she approaches life with an aesthetic eye and a good dose of whimsy as an artist, collector and entertaining guru.  She takes pleasure in creating winsome one-of-a-kind invitations, arranging flowers and producing handmade items, all designed in the eclectic and fanciful style she’s known for.

In addition to being an author, Graham is also the designer of a line of paper products comprising fashion note cards, gift and holiday cards, notebooks and wrapping paper. She has recently launched several collaborations, which include a line of pajamas and textiles with Charmajesty Ltd., a signature Second Bloom candle with NEST Fragrances and a line of découpage home accents with Scott Potter. Her first collection for One Kings Lane will be released in May, 2019.

Graham’s presentation will offer insights from her first book, Second Bloom: Cathy Graham’s Art of the Table. Published in Fall 2017 by Vendome Press, copies of  this book will be available for purchase in the Museum bookstore and guests will have the opportunity to participate in a book signing immediately following the luncheon.

Above: Tablescapes created last year by four of the Valley’s top design firms, Independent Woman Luncheon 2018.

Along with its notable keynote speaker, attendees have additional surprises in store this year. And, back by popular demand, the Independent Woman Luncheon offers a unique opportunity to see work by more than 50 of the Valley’s top design firms, as each creates beautiful, elaborate and imaginative tablescapes, all of which are available for purchase. This year the designs will be themed Spring In Bloom. 

The fundraiser executive sponsors are David E. Adler Fine Rugs and Desert Star Construction. Vadara Quartz Surfaces is the major sponsor and Arcadia Farms Café, Ardy’s Custom Workshop, Fully Loaded Deliveries, Kravet Inc. and Premiere Wood Floors are donors at the community level. 

Phoenix Art Museum honors the volunteer chairs and committee members who work tirelessly each year to advise, organize and produce the annual Independent Woman Luncheon. Through their efforts, nearly $2,000,000 has been raised on behalf of Phoenix Art Museum since IWL’s inception, further expanding access to art across our diverse community. For more information, visit 

WHEN: March 26, 2019

10:00 a.m. for table viewing and silent auction bidding 

12:00 p.m. luncheon and presentation by Cathy Graham

WHERE: Phoenix Art Museum


ATTIRE: Stylish

TICKETS: $300 per person. Tables of 10 begin at $3,000.