Often, the difference between success and failure is the courage to take a chance on a new idea.
The organizing committee of Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Loretto’s 34th annual gala has embarked on a new path to transform its largest annual fundraiser.
With the theme of “Celebrate the Arts,” the gala’s every facet will reflect the topic, from vibrant and fluorescent colors to highly original and matchless decorations, including one-of-a-kind table sculptures, mobiles, outdoor sculptures and party attire.
The gala has gone from black-tie formal to artful chic.
“The black-tie is out, and we want people’s clothes to make a statement by dressing as part of the entertainment,” said Jim Cayce of Hollidaysburg, one of three chairpersons for the event. “We want this new ‘dress code’ to add glitz and glamour.
“This is an effort to open up the gala to younger people in the area who may not want to abide by a certain dress code,” he said.
The gala will be held at 6 p.m. July 21 on the street in front of the museum and a portion of the mall of St. Francis University’s campus in Loretto.
Other chairpersons serving with Cayce are Nancy Sheetz and Michael Strueber, the museum’s founding director and the visionary behind the first gala. They also reside in Hollidaysburg.
Strueber said it was time for the museum to pump new life into the gala.
“People used to structure their vacations around the gala so they could attend,” Strueber said. “We want to resurrect the event to the stature that it once was and can be again.”
Continuing the celebration theme, the committee has insisted on using vibrant decorations and custom-designed lighting.
“The colors will pop with the use of fluorescents of orange, yellow and pink,” Strueber said.
The gala will feature sumptuous foods, enticing entertainment, dancing and silent and live auctions.
And when they say live auction, the organizers aren’t kidding.
One of the items that can be bid on will be a horse.
“An anonymous donor has donated a 3-year-old prize mare that will be on the grounds the night of the gala,” Cayce said.
If a live horse is not to someone’s liking, the list of auction items also will include a custom fabricated, life-size steel horse sculpture.
“The impressive piece was created by artisans Alvin Hale and Paul Snowberger, employees of the McLanahan Corp. in Hollidaysburg,” Cayce said.
The live auction also includes paintings by nationally recognized artists such as Gary Bukovnik and Nicola Simbari as well as works by regional artists such as Strueber and Helen Gorsuch, hand-painted furniture by Sheetz, a champagne brunch for 10 with a private tour of Fallingwater, a one-week vacation to St. Kitts, sculptures, scholarships to St. Francis University and Juniata College, and 15 tickets to attend a Pittsburgh Pirates game and sit in a luxury suite at PNC Park.
The silent auction’s theme is “Accent on Design,” featuring original decoupage, linoleum floor paintings and lamps and other traditional collectibles.
The gala will open with a champagne reception featuring hor d’oeuvres and cocktails.
Guests will be entertained by choreographed dancers from “Cats,” multiple bands and musicians, an art preview, games of chance and food.
“An array of delectable gourmet cuisine will be served buffet-style around 8:30,” Cayce said.
He is confident that guests will enjoy the music of Quintessence, an eight-piece band from State College that boasts a high-energy performance and diverse song list.
“It’s one of the same bands we had last year,” Cayce said.
Tickets are $175 per person and can be purchased by calling the museum at 472-3920.
Bus transportation will be provided from Altoona and Johnstown.
“The bus from Johnstown will leave at 5 p.m. from the Johnstown Galleria parking lot across from McDonald’s,” Cayce said. “It will depart the gala at 11 p.m. for the return trip.”
Proceeds from the event enable SAMA’s four museums – Altoona, Johnstown, Ligonier Valley and Loretto – to remain open to the public free of charge.
The event also helps to underwrite the museum’s world-class exhibitions and innovative Arts in Education and Museum/Healthcare Partnership programs.
Information: 472-3920 or on the Web at www.sama-art.org.
What: 34th annual gala.
Where: Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Loretto.
When: 6 p.m. July 21.
Cost: $175 a person.