Wright State’s ArtsGala to celebrate 25 years of supporting fine and performing arts students

Wright State University’s ArtsGala on April 6 will feature an impressive program of student performances and presentations in theatre, dance, motion pictures, music and visual arts.

Wright State University’s Creative Arts Center often buzzes with activity, but once a year it outdoes itself.

During ArtsGala the center for one night is alive with fanciness in food and dress to celebrate Wright State students and their talents and to raise scholarship funds to help those creative minds develop.

This year is the 25th anniversary of ArtsGala, the highlight of Wright State’s arts season and a premier event in the Miami Valley. ArtsGala will be held Saturday, April 6, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.

The opening ceremony starts at 7 p.m., after which the expected throng of about 500 patrons can pick and choose which of the many performances throughout the Creative Arts Center to attend and which of the many themed dining buffets and other food and drink to enjoy. At 10:45 p.m. activity shifts to welcoming the patrons to dance on the Festival Playhouse stage.

ArtsGala tickets and more information are available at wright.edu/artsgala.

While ArtsGala is a celebration of Wright State’s fine and performing arts programs, it is also about helping many of the programs’ nearly 500 students.

The students come from many different backgrounds, said Rebecca Foley, the art gallery and events coordinator in the College of Liberal Arts.

“The funds generated by ArtsGala enable them to pursue their dream, to refine their talent and go into professions in the arts. Our graduates are performing throughout Dayton and nationally,” said Foley. “ArtsGala allows students to pursue their professional ambitions.”

Students will showcase their talents throughout the Creative Arts Center during ArtsGala:

  • Outside the upstairs art gallery, students will set up around a model in a costume from the theatre program to paint, sculpt and draw.
  • In the dance space will be Dance Experience, featuring choreographed performances.
  • The Festival Playhouse will stage highlights from the musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”
  • In the upstairs open-space lounge will be Step In to the Movies, featuring motion picture students welcoming patrons to interact with classic films and explaining special effects.
  • In Schuster Hall, the Collegiate Chorale and the Jazz Ensemble will perform.
  • Select rooms in the music wing will have performances of chamber music, opera and song.
  • The Herbst Theatre will feature Stage Wright Broadway Divas, with musical theatre selections.
  • The Stage Combat Room will feature “The Music of Billy Joel.”
  • The theatre wing will announce and have previews of Wright State’s 2024–2025 stage productions.

Wright State Theatre will present highlights from the spring musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” in the Festival Playhouse.

Besides sponsorships and patron ticket sales, scholarship funds are generated by a silent auction, which this year features nearly 70 items ranging from $2,500 gift cards from ArtsGala sponsor Morris Home Furniture to an all-inclusive four-day trip to Mexico for $2,500 to a $25 gift bag of puzzles and games for children.

The items can be viewed online, and bidding will occur on the evening of ArtsGala. Bidders will be updated through text messages.

“You don’t have to be at ArtsGala to bid,” said Becca Webb, the director of enrollment management and community engagement for the College of Liberal Arts. “We’ll be adding items up to the day of ArtsGala.”

Among the art up for auction are works by senior Jenna Suggs’s black-and-white woodcut print entitled “Bridge at Lewisburg” and sophomore Alexis McCormick’s untitled acrylic on canvas painting. Suggs, McCormick and other students will be on hand to talk about their creations, their Wright State experience and how they have benefited from ArtsGala scholarships.

Another facet of the auction is “Buy It Now,” in which patrons can buy bottles of wine for $45, with the possibility of the wine being worth more, and buy snow globes featuring Rowdy Raider, the Alumni Tower or the Creative Arts Center.

ArtsGala patrons can enjoy many themed dining buffets and other food and drink.

Patrons can buy dance shoes or special soles that will go to dance or musical theatre students. And patrons can “adopt” a student from the art, dance, motion picture, music, or theatre programs. These patrons will receive free admission to the student’s performances or exhibitions, two letters from their student and a dinner with the student.

There will also be a crew of students called Wayfinders to help patrons find their way around the Creative Arts Center and to the performances and to talk about the fine and performing arts programs.

“It’ll be a festive, fun, entertaining evening,” Foley said. “It’s a celebration of our students and an investment in their future.”

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