The 14th Annual ARTS By George! Benefit To Feature Audra McDonald
The College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University presents its 14th ARTS by George! benefit Saturday, September 28, 2019. The philanthropic event headlined by Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winner Audra McDonald raises support for student scholarships in visual arts, dance, music, theater, computer game design, film, arts management, as well as for the Mason Community Arts Academy, the Green Machine Ensembles, and the Great Performances at Mason series. Information and ticket/sponsorship packages are available at artsbygeorge.gmu.edu.
"Beware exaggerated claims of uniqueness," cautions Rick Davis, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, "except when discussing ARTS by George! Where else can you experience first-class student showcases in dance, music, theater, film, computer games, and visual art, enjoy a wide variety of delicious cuisine, bid on attractive auction items, hobnob with faculty, students, and honored guests, and top it all off with a performance by Audra McDonald-star of stage and screen, with more Tony Awards than any other actor?"
Davis adds that the annual celebration of the Arts at Mason "Shines a light on our college's distinctive fusion of the academic and the professional, the community and the university, and is pure inspiration and enjoyment from beginning to end."
ARTS by George! begins at 5 p.m. with behind-the-scenes exhibitions and performances by CVPA students and faculty in open studios and rehearsal halls of the deLaski Performing Arts Building. The event includes award-winning wine, local brewery tastings, and cuisine stations from top restaurants in the D.C. region, as well as a silent auction of arts-related items and experiences. Auction highlights include a cooking experience with celebrity chef Carla Hall (ABC's The Chew and Bravo's Top Chef), plus luxury travel packages in San Francisco, Chicago, Dominican Republic, New York, and Virginia Beach.
At 8 p.m. guests will transition to the Center for the Arts for a Live Fund-A-Student Auction leading up to the performance with McDonald, who will be joined onstage by Andy Einhorn on piano, Michael Kuennen on bass, and Gene Lewin on drums. The evening culminates with an on-stage champagne and dessert reception featuring the guest artists.
In the concert, McDonald performs her trademark mix of hits from Broadway and the Great American Songbook. In addition to a record-breaking six Tony Awards-distinguishing her as the most decorated performer in American theater-she is the recipient of two Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, and a 2015 National Medal of Arts bestowed on her by President Barack Obama. Tony-winning performances include Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill. Blessed with a luminous soprano voice and an incomparable gift for dramatic truth-telling, she is as much at home on Broadway and concert stages as she is on film and television. Most recently, television audiences have enjoyed her portrayal as attorney Liz Lawrence on CBS's The Good Fight. As a recording artist, she has released six solo albums. Her training in classical voice at Juilliard has led to appearances with leading opera companies and orchestras around the world.
ARTS by George! 2019 is co-chaired by Corporate and Client Services Manager of Sandy Spring Bank Anne Bolger and Vice President of People and Culture at NowSecure Steven Golsch. In a joint statement, they shared: "We are excited to co-chair one of the most enjoyable, passionate, creative, and sure-to-be art-filled events of the season. ARTS by George! is the jewel in the crown for art lovers anywhere and the diamond of arts presentations for the year in Northern Virginia."
The annual event has collectively raised more than $1.5 million since it began in 2006. To learn more about ARTS by George! scholarship recipients visit, artsbygeorge.gmu.
Individual benefit tickets are $300 per person and include entry to the student showcases, food, beverages, and the Gala Performance and champagne reception onstage. Sponsorship packages begin at $1,800.
Tickets to the 8:30 p.m. Gala Performance only are $50-$100 and available in person at the Center for the Arts' Ticket Office (Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m.to 6 p.m.), by phone at 703-993-2787, or through the Center for the Arts' website at cfa.gmu.edu.