From the jazz band to the cocktails to the glamorous décor, this year’s Falling in Love with the Arts Gala debut was like something out of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Southwestern College boosters gathered at the Hilton Hotel in Mission Valley and raised $14,000 for SWC Schools of Arts and Communication. This money will go towards creating scholarships and funding programs at SWC.
Under dim lighting, 13 students were honored with a medal and certificate for their outstanding contributions to the arts at SWC.
Donning tuxedos and evening gowns, attendees dined on white tables decorated with ceramic centerpieces made by the SWC Clay Club. A silent and live auction featured engraved Chinese brass trays, Native American jewelry, mystery gift bags and prints by artists like Synthia Saint James and the late Charles Rucker.
Dr. Donna Arnold, dean of the School of Arts and Communication, was the instigator of the gala. She said she felt an urgency to host an event that showcased the quality of work done by the students in the School of Arts and Communication.
“I wanted to show that as a school we contribute greatly to the rest of the college and the community,” she said.
Professor of Communications Eric Maag opened the ceremony by remarking on the importance of the arts on campus, an importance that Arnold said tends to be undervalued and eclipsed by other majors that people consider more serious and practical.
Along with raising money, the gala also gave faculty and staff members an opportunity to relax, dance and mingle with their colleagues and students, said Nicholas Muller, assistant professor of art.
“I think events like this help us see the great work that is being done by our students and colleagues and encourages us to improve the program,” he said.
Arnold said she enjoyed interacting with students.
“I don’t usually get an opportunity to personally meet with the students,” she said. “It was really important for me to see the incredible quality of work that was being done by them. That’s something that I feel should be recognized.”