Gala to raise money for arts programs

Published 10:03 pm Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Suffolk Education Foundation will host its fourth annual gala to celebrate the arts in Suffolk Public Schools on April 27.

“All the money goes to the arts in Suffolk Public Schools,” said foundation member David Mitnick. “The money helps fund visual arts, instrumental music and choral music. The money gets distributed based on each group’s participation in the gala.”

Visual arts get funding at all levels, and the music programs are only in the middle and high school levels.

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Every public school in Suffolk has the opportunity to participate in the gala. All grade levels will have pieces of visual art on display during the gala for attendees to admire, and art teachers are encouraged to tie the works to the theme of the gala.

Not only will art be on display but also students have the opportunity to perform at the gala. Nansemond River High School’s jazz band will be present, and King’s Fork Middle School’s chorus will return to perform songs from “Annie.”

Mitnick and the rest of foundation wanted to involve all of the art programs in Suffolk Public Schools. They decided to include the high school drama departments when choosing the masters of ceremony.

Two students from Lakeland High School’s drama department were chosen — Tatiyahna Blakely, a senior, and Landon Wigg, a junior. The foundation will rotate the high schools in following years.

This year’s theme is “The Stars Come Out: A Night at the Movies.”

The art teachers also have a chance to provide artwork for the gala. The teachers have an opportunity to donate art to the gala that will be raffled off as prizes.

Raffle boxes will sit next to each piece of art, and attendees have the opportunity to drop their purchased raffle tickets for the chance to win. This is just one of the ways the gala will raise money.

“We do have a silent auction, and each board member provides gift baskets. They can provide it themselves, or they can have it sponsored by a company,” Mitnick said.

Sponsors also give the gala the chance to make the most of its money. Prior to the Grown-Up Spelling Bee held in February, the Suffolk Education Foundation sold sponsorship packages for all three of their fundraising events — the spelling bee, the gala and the golf tournament.

“It’s an enjoyable evening, and it’s for a good cause,” Mitnick said. “When we started, we didn’t know how it would go over in Suffolk. We are delighted to how many people come out with no tie to the school system just to support the cause.”

Last year’s gala raised close to $8,000, and the money was split among all the public schools in Suffolk.

“That’s why we started the gala. Arts are underfunded, and we wanted to help the teachers who do the fine arts to make sure money was getting in the programs,” Mitnick said.

Visit www.suffolkeducationfoundation.org for tickets.