25th ArtsGala features original artwork by Wright State students in silent auction

Artwork by Alexis McCormick, left, and Jenna Suggs will be up for auction at Wright State’s ArtsGala on April 6 to raise funds for scholarships for fine and performing arts students.

The silver anniversary of ArtsGala, Wright State University’s signature celebration of the fine and performing arts is coming up. While it will showcase Wright State students who will be singing, dancing, acting, painting, sculpting and filmmaking, two fine arts students will have a special place in the festivities.

Artwork by Jenna Suggs and Alexis McCormick will be up for auction to help raise funds for scholarships for their classmates.

ArtsGala will be held on Saturday, April 6, throughout the Creative Arts Center on the Dayton Campus. A VIP reception for sponsors, ArtsGala Society members and grand patrons will take place from 6 to 6:45 p.m. in the Upper Stein Galleries; the opening ceremony will take place from 7 to 7:30 p.m. in Schuster Hall.

The silent auction, which includes Suggs’ and McCormick’s art, can be viewed in person from 7 to 10:30 p.m. in the Lower Stein Galleries before making bids online.

ArtsGala will feature performances, displays, exhibitions and demonstrations throughout the Creative Art Center. Those activities will wind down at 10:45 p.m., when patrons, guests and students are invited to dance on the Festival Playhouse stage until midnight.

Learn more about ArtsGala, including ticket levels and sponsorship availability, at wright.edu/artsgala.

ArtsGala showcases Wright State’s storied and successful fine and performing arts programs and raises scholarship funds for art, dance, motion pictures, music and theatre students. Money is raised through ticket sales, sponsorships and the silent auction.

“Bridge at Lewisburg,” a black-and-white woodcut print by Jenna Suggs, a senior fine arts major in painting and printmaking, will be available in the silent auction at ArtsGala on April 6.

The auction features a variety of items, including gift baskets, vacation trips, services and experiences. Two of those items are original, one-of-a-kind works by Suggs and McCormick.

Suggs is a senior fine arts major in painting and printmaking from Brookville. Her black-and-white woodcut print, entitled “Bridge at Lewisburg,” is up for auction. The piece by McCormick, a sophomore fine arts major from Lyons, is an untitled acrylic on canvas painting.

Their work was chosen from a wide array of submissions by other creative arts students.

“It means a lot to me to have one of my pieces in the auction, to have my work included in the event that showcases the arts,” Suggs said.

After graduating from high school, Suggs enrolled at Sinclair Community College to study early childhood education, but she still sought her passion.

“I painted for fun all of my life,” she said. “That truly brings me joy and happiness.”

She shifted her focus to art education, enrolling at Wright State

“It’s where I could achieve my goal,” she said, adding that the move will require her to earn a teaching certificate, a step she is researching.

“In the long run I’m thankful I’m earning my bachelor’s in fine arts,” she said. “It’s given me a lot of experience in studio art. I’ve learned so much from my instructors.”

McCormick moved to the Dayton area from Northwest Ohio to attend a graphic design school but that wasn’t fulfilling. She eventually enrolled at Wright State. She is taking education and science classes and is excited about the painting she is doing now.

ArtsGala patrons can bid on an untitled acrylic on canvas painting by Alexis McCormick, a sophomore fine arts major.

McCormick said she has always been in small-school environments, but she was ready for a change.

“Wright State is bigger, and I find comfort in that,” she said. “I’ve found friends here, and I find the teachers are really supportive. There’s a lot more diversity in thought and culture.”

Suggs and McCormick are appreciative of their ArtsGala Scholarships.

Suggs, who received a scholarship each of the last two academic years, said the support has helped tremendously.

“They’ve given me a chance to focus on my work and what I love to do instead of constantly stressing about my finances,” she said.

McCormick, who received an ArtsGala Scholarship this academic year, said it has provided financial security.

During ArtsGala, Suggs and McCormick will talk about their art with patrons while benefiting from the creative atmosphere.

“I’m going to enjoy getting to know the people,” McCormick said. “It’ll be nice to have that broader reach to the arts community.”

Suggs volunteered at last year’s ArtsGala, working with a photographer.

“This year I’m excited to enjoy the event and see everybody else’s art,” she said. “We put our heart and soul into our work. It’s great to have patrons come out and support us.”

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