On Friday night, the Surry Arts Council’s Arts Ball raised money for cultural arts programs for students in all public schools in Surry County for 2013-2014. The benefit took place at Cross Creek Country Club for a large crowd of elegantly-dressed supporters.
One-hundred percent of the proceeds from ticket sales and auction items went to Surry Arts Council, who will use the fund for cultural arts programs for 24 schools in Surry County. The free cultural arts programs benefit more than 10,000 students in the school systems.
The event was “black-tie optional,” but most in attendance dressed in their finest clothing to enjoy the evening of food, music and fun.
Dr. Greg Little, superintendent of Surry County Schools, and Dr. Travis Reeves, superintendent of Mount Airy City Schools, along with their wives, greeted ticket-holders as they entered the ballroom. The superintendents of both school systems expressed their gratitude to the Surry Arts Council for providing arts programs for students.
Canapes were served by Cross Creek Country Club staff during the hors d’oeuvres course, followed by a tomato-basil bisque soup course, while those in attendance placed bids and admired the silent auction items. More than 500 silent auction items were donated for the event, including items from all 24 schools.
Early in the night, several items’ bid sheets were almost full, with the most popular items belonging to the “dining” category, such as:
• a homemade pie, “Mama’s pecan pie,” made and donated by Margaret McGuire
• a Garden and Gun Pavilion party at Blue View Farm with dinner for 16, donated by Debbie and John Lyon
• a Northern Italian Dinner for 12 at the home of Joanne Cheatam, hosted and donated by Chris Wishart and Babs and Lee Merritt
• Supper with Julie and Julia for 14, consisting of a traditional French meal of Julia Child’s recipes, donated by Julie and John Adams
• a whole beef tenderloin donated by the Mount Airy Meat Center
• Wine and Hors D’eouvres pairings for 20, hosted and donated by Julie and John Adams with food prepared by Chris Wishart
• two and a half gallons of fresh blueberries donated by Johnson Blueberries
• three months of fruit from Levering Orchard
Other popular items included a trip to Great Wolf Lodge, donated by Meadowview; a basket of Kenra Hair products donated by W.G. Ireland of Cut & Curl in Dobson; a handcrafted wooden stool and two season passes to home games, donated by Mount Airy High School; a quilt made by Mary Lee King; one month of individual fiddle or guitar lessons donated and taught by Jim Vipperman of Vip’s Violins; and a Carolina Panthers Corn Hole game donated by Shoals Elementary School.
The seated three-course dinner began after the silent auction ended. The first course served to the guests was a salad of baby bibb lettuce, poached pears, pecans, Gorgonzola and balsamic vinaigrette. Second course included a sirloin filet with bordelaise and grilled shrimp, steamed green beans, dauphene potatoes and rolls. The dessert course consisted of a choice of key lime pie or ultimate chocolate cake.
During dinner, a 1997 Toyota Camry XLV, donated by Patterson Automotive, was auctioned to the highest bidder by Mark Rogers. Teresa Lewis, owner and president of Workforce Carolina, won the live auction with a final bid of $4,200, which beat last year’s record for highest bid on an Arts Ball item. Lewis said she plans to donate the car for a good cause. She also won a live auction of three groups of 25 advertising spots on local radio.
W.G. Ireland, of Cut and Curl in Dobson, said he attended the event because he supports arts programs and the Surry Arts Council. “It is important for arts to be in our schools — this is overlooked a lot of times.”
Diane Milhan, a retired dancer who works as a physical therapist for Northern Hospital of Surry County, said the event was a “wonderful way to support the arts in our area.”
Superintendent Reeves said he appreciates the support of the Surry Arts Council because Surry County Schools teaches the “whole child” which includes both academics and arts.
“The community rallies around this, as you can see by the crowd [at the Arts Ball]. Without the support of the Surry Arts Council, we would not be able provide the rich cultural experiences the students gain through their programs. When students watch a performance, what they gain is a positive experience…they are creating life long learners. You can’t put a price tag on that — you can’t give a test score for that.”
Reach Jessica Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1933.