Arts Ball to feature Band of Oz

Event raises money for school arts programs

Staff report

People attending a past Arts Ball nearly fills Cross Creek Country Club to capacity.

The Surry Arts Council will host the annual Arts Ball on Friday, Feb. 24 at Cross Creek Country Club. This event includes a silent auction, seated dinner, and live music by the Band of Oz.

Preview bidding opens at noon and all are invited to participate. All of the proceeds from the event are used to provide free cultural arts programs for 24 schools in Surry County.

Dozens of volunteers and school personnel are already working on collecting items for the silent auction. Sonia Dickerson is serving again this year as liaison for the Surry County Schools, Carrie Venable serves as liaison for the Mount Airy City Schools, and Alicia Merritt represents Millennium Charter Academy. All of the schools participate with both donations and attendance.

“Surry Arts Council Board members, school personnel, and dozens of volunteers work hard to organize the event, sell tickets, and ensure that the arts remain a part of our area school programming,” the arts council said in a written statement announcing the event.

In addition to directly paying for arts programs, the Arts Ball proceeds leverage grants including a $7,000 cARTwheels grant from the North Carolina Arts Council which funded a residency with artist Mike Wiley.

Wiley hosted a teacher workshop which provided continuing education credits and enhanced the residency experience. The residency included seven school presentations reaching more 3,800 students, according to the arts agency.

“Arts programs funded by the Arts Ball facilitate more 25,000 student contacts,” the statement said. “It is the Surry Arts Council’s goal to send at least one program to each school in the Surry County School system, the Mount Airy City School system, and Millennium Charter Academy. Most schools receive two or three programs. Each of the 12,000 students in the schools is also bused to one or more programs at the Andy Griffith Playhouse, the Historic Earle Theatre, and/or the Blackmon Amphitheatre. In addition, hundreds of students visit the Andy Griffith Museum, the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall, and the Siamese Twins Exhibit at no cost.

Other arts programs funded by the 2016 Arts Ball include ArtsPower National Touring Theatre’s production Chicken Dance for all K-2nd grade students, Rising Star Productions Solve it Cyrus for third-fifth grade students, and Rising Star Production’s Celebration USA: The Musical for all middle school students. The UNC School of the Arts Piedmont Opera performed 12 shows of Jack and the Beanstalk in all K-5 schools. Bright Star National Touring Theatre traveled to K-5 schools to perform their show Holidays Around the World. Elliot Engel’s lectures on Mark Twain and William Shakespeare were performed for high school students.

Free movies at the Historic Earle Theatre are offered monthly for students with several thousand additional students attending those as part of incentive programs. There is also a separate program of dance, drama and craft programs for exceptional students. These are funded in part by the Arts Ball and in part by the United Fund of Surry.

In addition to arts programs, the Surry Arts Council hosts numerous school holiday and year end band and choral concerts, school plays performed by students, and music workshops.

The cost of attending the Arts Ball is $75 per person. This includes a seated meal in addition to the entertainment. Everyone is invited. For further information and/or tickets, contact the Surry Arts Council at 336-786-7998 or visit .

For information on this release, contact Dana Whitaker at 336-786-7998 or

People attending a past Arts Ball nearly fills Cross Creek Country Club to capacity. attending a past Arts Ball nearly fills Cross Creek Country Club to capacity.
Event raises money for school arts programs

Staff report

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