Scholarships generated by Wright State’s ArtsGala critical for fine and performing arts students

Hillary Allison, who majors in dance, is one of many Wright State students who benefit from scholarship money raised at ArtsGala.

Wright State University’s ArtsGala is much more than just a dazzling night of live performances, art displays and food. The scholarship money it produces is a lifesaver for many students in the fine and performing arts.

Hillary Allison, who grew up in Fort Wayne Indiana, is a dance major who has performed with the Dayton Ballet and the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.

“This scholarship means a great deal to me because it represents a community here in Dayton that supports the arts and also supports many students who are pursuing careers in art, music, theatre, motion pictures and, of course, dance,” she said.

ArtsGala, in its 23rd year, is viewed as one of the region’s premier arts events. It will be held Saturday, April 9, from 7 p.m. to midnight in Wright State’s Creative Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased at

With more than 800 patrons attending annually, ArtsGala has raised over $3.5 million in scholarship support for students in the fine and performing arts.

Anna Hunter, of Fort Collins, Colorado, majors in theatre design and technology with concentrations in stage management and properties.

“The highlight of my time at Wright State has been working on shows and being a part of a community that is here to create and learn an art that we love,” she said. “It has been so rewarding to step into a space where everyone has the common goal of creating a piece to be put up on the stage.”

Anna Hunter majors in theatre design and technology with concentrations in stage management and properties.

Hunter said the ArtsGala scholarship means she can continue to do what she loves.

“Being an out-of-state student, college is one of the hardest things I have to pay for,” she said. “However, this scholarship has shown me that there are people who care about my education and believe in my skills as a technician and want me to continue to learn and grow in this community.”

ArtsGala will feature over 450 students from all aspects of Wright State’s fine and performing arts programs. ArtsGala will feature 13 different live performances, from dance to opera to the best of Broadway.

It will also enable student artists to showcase their creative abilities throughout the Creative Arts Center and offer six dining experiences, a silent auction, six bars featuring wine, craft beer and cocktails, and a cigar tent.

Joe Deer, professor and artistic director of the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures, said ArtsGala patrons love getting to mingle and talk with arts students and faculty to create a personal relationship with the students they support and see on Wright State stages.

Solañe Bass is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting.

“And patrons consistently bring up how much fun they have moving from room to room, sampling different menus and having more entertainment and viewing options than they can ever fit into one evening,” said Deer.

Solañe Bass, of Dayton, majors in fine arts with a concentration in painting, a minor in computer science and a certificate in graphic art.

“I love drawing and painting, creating characters, illustrating stories and designing graphics,” said Bass. “The programs I have been studying have helped me to learn a wide range of art skills which will help me in my career.”

She said her ArtsGala scholarship has paid for her art supplies such as oil paints, canvases, brushes and palettes.

“Having the scholarship takes away the burden of having to balance work and school in order to find money to pay for these supplies,” she said. “I am able to focus on school and get supplies of nice quality for my classes.”

Rebekah Staton is an art history major.

Rebekah Staton, of Nashville, Tennessee, majors in art history. She says receiving an ArtsGala scholarship means that the hours and passion she has poured into her work mean something.

“It’s easy to feel like you’re producing into the void, but receiving a scholarship, or a commendation, for work that you’ve slaved over just confirms that you’re on the right track,” she said. “With this scholarship, I’ve been able to invest more time into school assignments, into outside research and achieve better grades.”

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