United Arts Council hosts star-studded luncheon gala

This year's United Arts Council Stars in the Arts honored Donna Fiala, Mark Danni, Steffanie Pearce, Kristen Coury, and the Naples Music Club, represented by Marilyn Bogen. Peggy Farren

This year's United Arts Council Stars in the Arts honored Donna Fiala, Mark Danni, Steffanie Pearce, Kristen Coury, and the Naples Music Club, represented by Marilyn Bogen. Peggy Farren

Launched with a champagne reception in the Naples Grande Resort, the Stars in the Arts 2011 Awards Luncheon March 4 recognized five recipients of the annual honors and raised $50,000 for its programs to help at-risk students.

The 250 attendees clustered around the silent auction displays that featured art-oriented packages and items including an extensive range of jewelry fashioned by Pat McCarty; an original batik painting, “Indigo Palms,” created by Muffy Clark Gill; and an organic dinner party and art discussion at the Old Naples home of artist Paul Arsenault and wife Eileen.

Following remarks by co-chairs Roz Travis and Mally Khorasantchi, artist/designer and Arts Council president, 10-year old Zofia Majewski entertained the audience with four songs. Having appeared in Opera Naples productions and sung at St. William church, she exclaimed, “It was wonderful to sing in this room since it’s so bright.” Travis, an interior designer, had transformed the ballroom using large blue globes and iridescent stars suspended from the ceiling and napkins in a wide range of colors.

With Lois Thome, WINK-TV news anchor at the mike, honorees called up to receive awards were Kristin Coury, founder and artistic director of Gulfshore Playhouse; Mark Danni, director of performing arts at the Community School of Naples and founding artistic director of the TheatreZone on campus; and Donna Fiala, Collier County commissioner and a founder of the Bayshore Arts group.

Marilyn Bogen represented the Naples Music Club, which since its inception in 1970 has awarded $420,000 in scholarship money to more than 600 promising middle and high school music students. Soprano Steffanie Pearce, founding director of Opera Naples, Southwest Florida’s professional opera company, accepted the award on behalf of the company.

According to UAC Executive Director Elaine Hamilton, net event proceeds from ticket sales at $95 per person and the silent auction took in $50,000 that will benefit the Council’s arts education program for at-risk students.

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