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Gala at the Gallery raises over $25,000 for student grants and scholarships

Posters highlighting some of the 2016-2017 student grant recipients line the windows of the University Galleries for the 3rd annual FOA Gala.

Posters highlighting some of the 2016-2017 student grant recipients line the windows of the University Galleries for the 3rd annual FOA Gala.

On Saturday, May 20, over 100 people attended the third annual Friends of the Arts (FOA) Gala at the Illinois State University Galleries in Uptown Normal.

This annual event is the primary fundraiser for FOA, a volunteer board composed of community members who share an appreciation for the arts and education.

The semi-formal event is an opportunity for people in the community who share a passion for the arts to come together and enjoy an evening that includes live and silent auctions of art and experiences unique to our local area. In addition to art, annual auction favorites included the opportunity to bid for the chance to conduct Sleigh Ride during the annual Music for the Holidays concerts and a walk-on role during a performance at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival.

For those wishing to try their hand at learning new talents themselves, offerings included a 4-hour class in 3-D printing at Open Source Classroom LLC., a cooking class at the Garlic Press, and an art class at McLean County Arts Center.

Entertainment during the evening included live piano music provided by Dominique Gonzales, a recent graduate of the master’s program in piano performance at the School of Music, an opportunity to take a 90-second cello lesson, and a stage combat demonstration – after which attendees had the opportunity to bid on a 3-hour swashbuckling workshop. For the foodies in attendance, this year’s auction included a homemade German dinner for six, and annual favorites – a year’s worth of homemade pies, a different flavor each month, and Death by Chocolate, twelve desserts created monthly by the FOA Board members.

Throughout the evening, 42 pieces of art of varying mediums and 25 experiences were auctioned off. Back by popular demand was the opportunity to purchase the glass centerpieces, created by School of Art glass students with floral arrangements by Viva La Flora.

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The impact that events such as the Gala have on student support is unquestionable. This year the Gala raised over $25,000, of which the proceeds will help provide annual scholarships to offset attendance costs, project grants to support student creativity, research, events, and visiting artists, and other need-based assistance. Of the amount raised at this year’s event, $3,550 was pledged toward increasing the FOA Endowment, a fund that specifically helps to fund two merit-based scholars for two years, awarded annually. In the 2016-2017 academic year, FOA provided over $50,000 to fine arts students including $15,000 in project grants and $40,000 in scholarships.

More information about Friends of the Arts and upcoming events, including next year’s Gala at the Galleries, can be found by visiting the FOA website. You can also find FOA on Facebook.

If you were not able to attend this year’s Gala at the Gallery, you can still support fine arts students through Friends of the Arts by making a donation toward the FOA Endowment or through annual support of FOA programs by designating your gift to the Friends of the Arts Fund.

Friends of the Arts thanks this year’s generous Gala at the Gallery sponsors: Stave Wine Bar & Market, WGLT, The Copy Shop, Jerry and Carole Ringer, Brian Brakebill, Marge Mosier, Jennifer Catarello Roseman, Susan Thetard (in memory of Frank Vybiral), Heartland Bank and Trust Company, and Manneken Press. Additional thanks to this year’s auctioneers, Dave Mosier and Dave Shields, and the University Galleries staff for hosting the event.