Off the Walls to raise funds for youth art scholarships

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Photo with no caption

— Guests at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs will be taking paintings off the walls, pulling sculptures from stands, taking jewelry from displays and carrying home valuables of all types next week during Off the Walls. Though taking artwork from a gallery would typically be frowned upon, at Off the Walls it is all in the name of good fun and fundraising. The event will take place Friday, Dec. 10 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Center for the Arts.

At this yearly event, guests purchase tickets for an evening of catered food, wine and friendly competition and everyone goes home with an item an original piece of art, jewelry, collectible or wine basket worth much more than the cost of a ticket. Tickets are purchased for $150 prior to the event. Guests arrive, mingle, enjoy catered hors d’oeuvres, wine and punch and at 6:30 ticket numbers begin being called. When a guest’s number is called, they select a piece to take home. The artwork or item is valued from $275 to $5,000. This includes a diamond ring valued at $5,000.

So everyone goes home with a unique item worth far more than their ticket price. The evening finishes with the very popular coffee and dessert bar.

This year one guest will receive a pair of $1,500 diamond earrings for the price of $25. During the night 200 gold boxes will be sold at $25 each. One box will hold the diamond earrings. Throughout the night boxes will be opened and one person will win the earrings.

While the evening ends at 8:30 p.m., Off the Walls actually continues throughout the year. All of the money raised goes to scholarships for students in the children’s education program at the Center for the Arts.

In 2010 the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs has awarded more than $70,000 in scholarships. This was much higher than the amount awarded in 2009 which was $49,000.

“Twice as many parents requested financial aid for their children this summer and fall,” said Susan Bridges, president of the Center for the Arts. “Some lost their jobs or took pay cuts to keep their jobs. The point is they wanted to provide their children with our wonderful programs, and needed our help.”

More than 60 percent of students enrolled in Center for the Arts classes receive some type of scholarship. All classes in the Youth Education program are available to scholarship students. Classes include painting, pottery, clay animation, drama, movie making, photography, dance and more. Pricing for a five-week semester ranges from $45 to $112 (dance semesters are 19 weeks and range from $158.50 to $201 for the semester). Part, or all, of the tuition can be covered by a scholarship. Most students are eligible for some type of scholarship.

“Studies show children who participate in arts are more likely to succeed as adults,” Bridges said. “We work closely with each family, carefully crafting every scholarship. This year we chose not to turn anyone in need away.”

Attendees of Off the Walls are giving a life-long gift of art to a child, while also taking home a beautiful and entirely unique piece of art for themselves, or a cherished friend.

A complete listing of Center for the Arts programming is available at www.artcenterbonita.org or by calling 495-8989.

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