Art Center Gala Exceeds Expectations

A fundraising event for the Salina Art Center exceeded expectations.  “Under construction, and over the top” was the theme for the 2024 Salina Art Center Gala held Feb. 3, 2024 at The Venue in Salina.

According to the organization, this year’s fundraising event raised $79,341, smashing the goals set for this year’s event.

“It’s hard to beat art and fun with friends all in the same evening, but that is exactly what we did with the Hammers and Heels Gala this year,” said Sydney Soderberg, gala committee chairperson. “It is a fun way to keep art alive in Salina.”

This year’s gala took a fashionable look at construction. Nine artists and fashion designers created unique designs that walked the runway on gala night. The designs were created entirely from construction materials. Artists used guttering, electrical wire, duct work, sandpaper, fencing, drains, plumbing materials, concrete, and more. Ultimately, Salina Artist Connie Burket was awarded a $1,000 prize. The community chose the winner by voting with their donations to Salina Art Center before and at the gala event.

“Donors, sponsors, and guests for this event boosted Salina Art Center’s community programs while supporting individual artists who deeply appreciate the acknowledgment of their chosen work.  This was a perfect representation of the SAC mission.  The lighthearted theme, complex creative challenge, and demanding fabrication process gave the artists themselves an all-at-the-same-time chance to have fun, do good, and execute well—what’s not to like in that combination?” said Burket.

Burket’s winning dress and other runway event pieces will be displayed at the Salina Art Center to celebrate their reopening on May 23, 2024.

The Art Center’s Annual Gala fundraiser supports engaging and innovative programming for everyone. Nearly 3,000 children and adults attended classes, workshops, and special programs annually through Salina Art Center and Warehouse Education Studio, and 8,497 people saw a film at the Art Center Cinema. “Art viewing, making, and conversation is a necessary building block to personal health and mental wellness,” says Misty Serene, executive director at the Art Center. “Brains crave creativity and thrive when exposed to it. Creativity is an economic driver. Not only training the next generation workforce to be problem solvers but also as a profitable tool for tourism, talent recruitment, and real estate sales. After all, we all want to grow, live, and retire in a community with a vibrant cultural life.”

The Art Center is fortunate to have volunteers serve in multiple capacities throughout the year. The Gala committee consists of community leaders and Art Center patrons. In addition to the fashion show, this year’s gala included a catered dinner by Yaya’s Euro Bistro, William Cole wine, an open bar, and a live auction of six unique experiences and items you can only find at the Art Center Gala. Following the gala dinner, guests danced the night away with DJ Carbon at the Hutton After Party.

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Photo via Salina Art Center