Premier Arts Education Fundraiser Honors Jodi Peck, Florentine Opera Company

Brookfield, WI (May 6, 2015) -- More than 500 business and community leaders from the Greater Milwaukee area will attend The Big Event, an all-inclusive evening of dinner, dancing, and first-class entertainment to be held Saturday, June 6, 2015, at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts (Wilson Center). As part of this celebrated fundraising event, Greater Milwaukee community leader and philanthropist Jodi Peck and Wisconsin's oldest fully professional performing arts organization Florentine Opera Company will be respectively honored with the eleventh annual EDDY Award and the inaugural Educational Excellence Award.

The Big Event serves as the major channel through which the Wilson Center raises funds for educational programming and outreach that serves more than 7,000 students each year. Single ticket prices for The Big Event are $350-$450 and sponsor tickets are $3,500-$5,500. Tickets will include valet parking; a pre-show party featuring open top-shelf bar, hand-passed hors d'oeuvres and food stations, and voice auctions; an exclusive concert from Naturally 7, the opening group for Michael Bublé's Crazy Love Tour; and a post-performance party featuring Milwaukee's own Streetlife with Warren Wiegratz. In addition, $75 tickets are available for "Crash the Party," which provides an opportunity for emerging leaders who are 45 and under to attend The Big Event at a discounted ticket price. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 262-373-5033.

The evening will include the presentation of the EDDY Award to Jodi Peck in recognition of her strong commitment to nonprofit organizations and particularly the performing arts throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. Endowed by Wilson Center supporters Murph and John Burke, the EDDY is presented annually by the Wilson Center's Bridge Committee to an arts organization, corporation, or individual(s) whose commitment to regional collaboration has created a higher standard of excellence in arts and education. Peck will join a distinguished list of past EDDY Award honorees: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (2005), Christine Harris (2006), Mario Costantini and Danceworks for Mad Hot Ballroom Milwaukee (2007), Marlene Kreilkamp of Sharp Literacy, Inc. (2008), Skylight Opera Theatre (2009), Marcus Corporation (2010), Creativity Works! (2011), Latino Arts Strings & Mariachi Juvenil (2012), Carlene Ziegler (2013), and Marianne and Sheldon Lubar (2014).

The 2015 Big Event will also mark the first year for the presentation of the Educational Excellence Award, which recognizes organizational achievement of a nonprofit that exemplifies collaboration in the arts. For their commitment to serving the Greater Milwaukee area with high-quality arts programming, the Wilson Center is excited to have Florentine Opera Company as the first recipient of this award.

The 2015 Big Event co-chairs are Agnes and Geoff O'Connor and Danielle and Craig Husar. Sponsors include Beer Capitol (Pre-Show Sponsor); Cynthia and Jeff Harris and Kate and Don Wilson (Box Seat Sponsors); Milwaukee Business Journal (Media Sponsor); Lyle Husar Designs, WE Energies, Badger Meter, American Transmission Company, Mark and Julie Steinhafel, Red Star Yeast Company, Peck School of the Arts, Murph and John Burke, Land Rover Waukesha, Husco International, Deb and Wayne Larsen, ProHealth Care, The Peck Foundation, and Boelter SuperStore (Event Sponsors); Gonzalez Saggio Harlan, VJS Construction, Kim and Jack Nelson, Enterforce, Martha and Mike Klinker, Carrie and Paul Matteson, Johnson Controls, PNC Bank, Karen and Dean Potratz, Mary Ann and Charles LaBahn, Katie Heil, WISN TV, Robert W. Baird, Moore Oil, Johnson Bank, Milwaukee Brewers, and Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. (Preferred Ticket Sponsors). For more information or to sponsor the 2015 Big Event, contact Amber Nelson at 262-373-5033 or

About the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts - The Wilson Center is a non-profit, multi-disciplinary cultural arts center that offers performances by regional and touring groups, arts education, and an art gallery with changing exhibits. The Center nurtures lifelong learning through innovative programs and classes for all interests, ages, and abilities in state-of-the-art studios and classrooms. Some of Southeast Wisconsin's finest arts organizations offer professional instruction at the Wilson Center, including Danceworks, Inc.; First Stage Theater Academy; and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. Wisconsin fine artists are showcased at the Hidden River Art Festival in September and in the Ploch Art Gallery with numerous exhibitions each year. The Wilson Center is just minutes west of Milwaukee, located in Brookfield's Mitchell Park off of Capitol Drive, just west of Brookfield Road. For information about the Wilson Center, call (262) 781-9470 or visit

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