Convention center to unveil donor wallSaturday’s event to feature Parisian food, entertainment
Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s annual gala will feature a few surprises and a big thank-you to donors of the founding and building of the center.
The long-planned donor wall will be unveiled to the public at 6:45 p.m. Saturday inside the lobby between the Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts and the art center.
“We’ve waited a long time to have this,” said Suzan Kessel, co-founder with Sally Denney of the idea to have an arts, theater and convention center.
“The wall has been more than six years in becoming a reality,” said Kessel. “It will permanently recognize the capital campaign donors that made the building possible. Additional flexible areas will recognize annual donors, endowment gifts, events and volunteers of the FACC.
“We’re hoping a lot of donors will attend; we sent out gala invitations to all of them.”
Denney said she was excited when she was among a few people Monday who looked at the progress of the wall being made at Fairfield’s Creative Edge Master Shop.
“It’s so exciting to see this coming to life,” she said. “Saturday’s unveiling and gala are great opportunities to thank all the people who helped make the center a reality.”
Jim Singer, production manager at Creative Edge, said the 12-foot-by-8-foot wall was begun about a week ago. Monday, the cut pieces and shapes were laid out and grout was being applied to the backs.
Harri Aalto, president of Aalto Design Inc., worked at a table with Creative Edge employee Chad Hall on the engraved names of donors set in stone. Different plaques hold many names, grouped by the amount donated.
“The names will be gold-colored on a cream background,” said Jim Belilove, president of Creative Edge.
He estimated the wall, including the stone and three wooden display cases, weighs more than 1,000 pounds.
The three wooden display cases will be the spots to hold rotating announcements, such as names of annual donors, endowment gifts, volunteers of the center as well as notices of events.
“I kept the courthouse motif,” said Kessel, who designed the donor wall.
Creative Edge made and installed the floor medallion in the convention center’s atrium that reflects the image of the Jefferson County Courthouse across Main Street which is visible through the center’s glass doors.
“We had several donor systems and wanted to make sure we included everyone’s name,” said Kessel. “Creative Edge is not getting paid for this work; it’s part of its in-kind donation toward its pledge.
“We’re fulfilling a promise to permanently list our donors and contributors here.”
Denney said the minimum pledge to be included on the donor wall was $5,000; a top donor contributed $100,000.
The annual Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s fundraising gala opens at 6 p.m. Saturday.
“Guests will enter through the south door off Main Street to the Sondheim center, and the whole building serves as the party room Saturday,” said Kessel. “The donor wall will have been installed and covered.
“Guests can check-in, get champagne, move along toward the art center, take a photo by the Eiffel Tower and enjoy entertainment. We’ll move to the donor wall at 6:45 p.m. for the unveiling.”
Denney said the evening promises something for everyone.
“We have great auction items, large and small, a variety of food and some surprise entertainment,” she said. “Suzan is responsible for all the decorations and backdrop scenery, so it will be wonderful.”
This year’s theme is “A Night on the Town,” with sights, sounds and tastes of Paris.
Guests can watch and interact with street performers, caricature artists and costumed participants.
“We live in a one-of-a-kind town,” said Cody Jones, development and public relations manager at FACC. “We thought it would be a lot of fun recreating other one-of-a-kind towns for our guests to explore and enjoy.”
A new feature for this year’s gala is absentee bidding on auction items. A listing of auction items and values is available through a link at www.fairfieldacc.com/events/a-night-on-the-town-gala-celebration-2014-01-25.html.
“Anyone who wants to bid on an item but can’t attend the gala can email me their maximum bid before noon Saturday,” said Jones. “The committee will bid for them in absentee. Usually the item goes for less than their maximum bid.”
Jones’ email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
He said the decorations aren’t the only thing with a Parisian flair planned Saturday. Fairfield Hy-Vee Food and Drug Store’s head chef, Noah Lobell, will work his culinary talents, offering a variety of Parisian-inspired tapa style appetizers and entrees.
Fairfield High School’s Chef Club members will serve as junior sous chefs Saturday, which will be an opportunity to taste food prepared by the winners of this year’s Indian Hills Community College Iron Chef competition.
One of the auction packages is a dinner for eight to 12 guests at the winner’s home, prepared by the Chef Club.
Silent auction and live auction items also include sports experience and travel packages including airfare and lodging, weekend retreat packages, golf outings, music CDs and artist posters, autographed items, car care packages, fine wines, as well as certificates Fairfield events, restaurants and lodging.
Tickets to the gala are available online at www.fairfieldacc.com and at the center.