Tuesday, July 18, 2017

June Recap: Our 95th Anniversary Gala at Masker's Barn

Our Masker's Barn fundraiser - which marked the close of our 95th season - was a wonderful celebration, with a full house and many of art sales. So nice to see so many friends, supporters, & patrons of the arts on hand for our celebration!

Members, friends, and patrons enjoying the evening

As a locally-based nonprofit, we strive to enhance our community through public art education, art appreciation, and through occasional exhibitions by our members. The many cultural events that we put on FREE OF CHARGE to the Westfield community each year are wholly funded by member dues and fundraising. 

A harpist played softly throughout the event

We are a wholly volunteer organization. This means that 100% of your membership dues - and donations - go into our events, NOT into management expenses and overhead. Even with more than 100 dues-paying friends & members, our costs for insurance, guest speakers, and venue rentals far exceed our annual income from dues. We make up the difference by applying for event-specific grants and by holding an annual fundraising event.

Members hard at work preparing for our guests

Unlike our regular public events, we chose to charge admission for this fundraising event. The proceeds of the more than 130 tickets that were used in part to cover the venue rental, insurance, and food and drinks - and also provided a much-needed boost to our bank accounts as we prepare for another season of free events.

Historian Priscilla Hayes speaks about the county's famed de la Selva murals

It is well worth noting that we did NOT charge the exhibiting artists ANY fees or commissions on their sales - and we sold THOUSANDS of dollars of artwork during this one-night event! 100% of the sale prices went directly to the artist. That is a highly unusual arrangement, but is a demonstration of our commitment to our member artists and the work they are creating.

Exhibiting artist members of WAA

Many thank-yous are due to our Board of Directors, who planned and worried and worked and worked and worked on this event for over 14 months: Avi Kiriakatis, Brooke Gardiner, Paul Federico, Maxine King, Michael Endy, Francesca Azarra, Sharon Reed and event chair Laura Brown. And to Mariya Kovalyov. And to our speaker, Priscilla Hayes. And to Dan Bernier of Union County Parks & Recreation. And to the Union County Freeholders. And to so many others who helpd make this event a success for both the community and our organization.

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