Art Center Gala Raises $73K

The Salina Art Center’s Annual Gala, the organization’s largest fundraising event of the year, was a success.

According to the organization, it was an “affair to remember” as Salina Art Center hosted their annual Gala fundraiser to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Art Center Cinema. The Academy Award-themed night welcomed guests in their finest red-carpet attire and raised over $73,000 to support Art Center programs funded through the Salina Art Center Endowment Foundation.

Highlights from the evening included recognizing Gary Chrisbens, Art Center Projectionist, who is celebrating 70 years as a projectionist in Salina. Gary spent most of his career at long-closed downtown Salina theaters like the Vogue and Fox (now the Stiefel Theatre for the Performing Arts). He also worked at the 81 Drive-In on Salina’s south side for 17 years, where he became manager at age 18.

After Chrisbens’ last theater, the Vogue closed in 1994, he decided to retire from the movie business. But the retirement was short-lived. He has been the projectionist at the Art Center Cinema, 150 S. Santa Fe since the theater opened in 1997 and has no plans to leave anytime soon.

The evening also included a world premiere cinema short.

THE MAGIC OF CINEMA takes a couple on an adventure. Recreations from the greatest movies of all time, including many of those shown at the Art Center Cinema, carry guests on the roller coaster of emotions that great films evoke. Written and directed by Devin Frederking, Fili Creative brought these moments to life with plenty of local flavor. Fili shared the story of the Art Center Cinema as it is felt but never before seen. THE MAGIC OF CINEMA features John Robison and Erin Fox. Special cameo appearances by Heather & Boyd Smith, Joe Riley, Heather Greene, and Gary Chrisbens.

The short is scheduled for public release on encore weekend, February 18-21 preceding regular movie screenings of THE JOCKEY (2022) at the Cinema. Viewers can also catch the encore on the Salina Art Center YouTube channel at 6 pm Friday, Feb. 18. Advance tickets for THE JOCKEY can be purchased online at

Annual Gala proceeds create opportunities for hundreds of children and adults to attend classes, workshops, and special programs through Salina Art Center and Salina Art Center Cinema each year. Studies show art programming improves the health and wellness of an entire community and the overall academic performance of its youngest citizens.

Photos by: Hannah Crickman

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