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The End of An Era: The ROM Celebrates its Last Prom

After a hugely successful 10-year run, PROM at the ROM is now a thing of the past – just like your actual prom was. The end of PROM comes at a time of increased saturation in the young professional fundraiser scene

Last Saturday night, the Royal Ontario Museum’s PROM at the ROM – which has been a staple on the social calendar of Toronto young professionals for the past 10 years – had its last bash. 

That’s right, the beloved “ROM PROM”– the Young Patron’s Circle’s largest fundraising event – is no longer.

In signature fashion, this year’s event was larger than the pre-historic life contained within the walls of the museum.

PROM X paid homage to the work and current exhibit of Douglas Coupland, and featured nostalgic retro touches like candy stations, gourmet Kraft Dinner complete with every topping imaginable, boxed burgers and fries, and a Lego art installation, just to name a few.
There was also a busy photo booth and, as always, any Twitter or Instagram shots were projected on the wall above the busy bar.

If you were there for the earlier VIP portion, you would have also had a chance to mingle with Coupland himself – and take a Polaroid picture with him.

While PROM at the ROM went out with a bang, and the party was well executed and fun, the venue did seem less packed than in previous years. It makes sense; after all, there seems to be another young professional-oriented fundraiser every week in Toronto.

In fact, the quick success of PROM likely inspired a few of them.

And with ticket prices typically selling for at an average of $125-$150, most of us can’t afford to hit every charity event (complete with the new outfit on top of the ticket).

The decision to pull the plug on PROM after its hugely successful 10-year run reinforces that sometimes it’s better to reinvent before things get stale. In a city as fast-paced as ours, we need to keep things fresh.
And that’s exactly what the Young Patrons Circle is doing in bidding farewell to PROM.

We caught up with Jessica Hall-Cummings, Development Officer of Young Patrons Circle, to hear more about it – and what’s next. 

Why is this the last year of PROM at the ROM?
The fundraising event landscape has grown and evolved during the past decade in Toronto. Now in its 10th year, it’s the right time to retire PROM as we know it and re-imagine a fresh and fun fundraising event offering for the ROM. More details will be available later this year.

What’s going to replace it?
The ROM Governors office is developing a spectacular new event concept for our supporters in consultation with key volunteers, including the YPC Committee, a dynamic group of young arts and business leaders.

What is the ROM doing to retain its appeal to young professionals?
The ROM’s Young Patrons Circle (YPC) is a dynamic group of young professionals that enjoy exclusive access to ROM exhibitions, galleries, curators, vaults and private collections across North America. YPC Members also receive four free tickets to every Friday Night Live (FNL).

The ROM offers a wide range of lectures, courses, workshops and special events for adults, including young professionals. These programs range from Google+ Hangouts with curators and public talks about our world-leading research. Our spring season of FNL will offer nine weeks of eclectic eats, drinks, DJs, dancing, live music and unexpected experiences, beginning on May 1, 2015.
What’s next for the Young Patrons Circle?

The Young Patrons Circle will continue to offer its members behind-the-scenes tours, exclusive sneak peeks at exhibitions, special travel opportunities and unique networking events. YPC was the first program of its kind in Canada and we are proud to celebrate YPC’s decade of ROM support this year. YPC will continue to offer innovative programming and champion trail-blazing philanthropic initiatives in Canada’s arts and culture sector.

Though you may have missed the chance to check out PROM for yourself, you can still hit the exhibit, which runs until April 26th.

Photo credits: George Pimentel, Tom Sandler 


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Erin Davis

Erin is a Toronto-based actor, writer and queen of the side hustle. When she’s not writing the day away in a face mask, she’s taking in the city’s vibrant arts scene, doing a red carpet interview or brunching with her leading ladies. Follow me: @erinnicoledavis