New Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts Announces Light Up the Arts Gala

The new Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC, will open its doors on Friday, September 10 with the Light Up the Arts Gala with Tony Bennett presented by Hanesbrands Inc., followed by Community Weekend presented by Reynolds American and Wachovia, a Wells Fargo Company, featuring more than 100 arts and cultural experiences under one roof on September 11 and 12.

The Light Up The Arts Gala with Tony Bennett Presented by Hanesbrands Inc. will be a festive party on September 10 from 6 p.m. to midnight, filled with music, drama, laughter and visual delights around every corner of the new Center. A performance by 15-time Grammy Award winner, Tony Bennett, is the centerpiece of the evening.

“Our goal is to shine a spotlight on the best artistry that Winston-Salem has to offer,” said Janie Wilson, co-chair of the opening of the Center. “Not only do we have one of the most distinguished vocalists in the world joining us to commemorate the occasion, we are proud to showcase nationally acclaimed talent from our own City of Arts and Innovation, including recognized performers who are returning to our city after launching successful careers around the country.”

During the Gala, guests will enjoy performances by the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, No Rules Theatre Company of Washington, DC, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and more. In the new Womble Carlyle Gallery, Piedmont Craftsmen will exhibit works by 45 artists in all media from the organization’s five-decade history. Sawtooth School for Visual Art will preview arts and crafts by their esteemed faculty. Guests will conclude the night in Hanesbrands Theatre, dancing to 1970s disco music, presented by one of the best disc jockeys on the East Coast.

The Center will officially open to the public with a Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 11. The Board of Trustees of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County will welcome distinguished public officials from around the country to the ceremony.

Following the opening ceremony is Community Weekend presented by Reynolds American and Wachovia, a Wells Fargo Company. On Saturday, September 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, September 12, from noon to 5 p.m., more than 100 artistic and cultural experiences will dazzle and delight. The entire weekend is free and open to the public. Featuring the members and partners of The Arts Council, activities run the gamut from arts and crafts for children, dance performances, professional artist demonstrations and a film festival to music performances, lectures, panel discussions and theatrical extravaganzas. Anchoring the weekend is the premier of Bouncers, a dramatic comedy about a group of working class British bouncers, at work and play, in Hanesbrands Theatre.

“This weekend is a true celebration,” said Siobhan Olson, co-chair of the opening of the Center. “Three-years in the making, based on the work of hundreds of volunteers and talented individuals in our community, plus a significant fundraising effort, The Arts Council renovated a downtown city block, turning it into the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts. This is our chance to show everyone that we really are the heart of arts and innovation in the country.”

Additional sponsors for opening festivities include Winston-Salem Journal, Winston-Salem Monthly and Bo-Ty Florist, with generous production support from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, all based in Winston-Salem. The following organizations will be showcased throughout opening festivities, including Associated Artists, Delta Fine Arts, Hispanic Arts Initiative, Kernersville Little Theatre, Piedmont Chamber Singers, Piedmont Opera, A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, Piedmont Wind Quartet, Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Twin City Stage, Children’s Theatre of Winston-Salem, Winston-Salem Symphony, Winston-Salem Youth Chorus, BOOKMARKS Book Festival, Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem, Old Salem Museums and Gardens, The Enrichment Center Percussion Ensemble, Authoring Action, Arts-Based Elementary School, Arts for Life North Carolina, Winston-Salem State University Diggs Gallery, The Healing Force, Otesha Creative Arts Ensemble, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, Burke Singers, Forsyth Community Band Festival, Giannini Brass, Piedmont Slam, Three Graces Entertainment, StoryLine, Flutes on Fourth, Joe Robinson, RiverRun International Film Festival, and more.

For information and tickets to the Gala, contact The Arts Council at 336-722-2585, x1109. For a completed schedule of more than 100 arts and cultural activities during Community Weekend, visit starting Monday, July 26.

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