‘Not just entertainment’ Arts Soiree raises money for a better community

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Charles H. Featherstone/Columbia Basin Herald Girls with the High Velocity Dance Company perform at the Columbia Basin Allied Arts Soiree on Friday.

MOSES LAKE — It was a night for music, food, fun, and fundraising for Columbia Basin Allied Arts on Friday.

About 150 people gathered Friday evening in Big Bend Community College’s ATEC building to bid on 20 items including art from local artists, tickets to a Seattle Mariners game, and a date night to an Allied Arts sponsored event, all to help the arts organization continue its work throughout the region.

Shawn Cardwell, the newly-appointed executive director of the CBAA, said the arts may be a hard sell, but they are necessary to community life and make Grant County “a better place to live.”

“This is not just about entertainment,” Cardwell said. “It’s about quality of life, a healthy community outreach for children.”

In addition to sponsoring musical events and theater productions since its founding in 1978, the Allied Arts also works closely with the Missoula Children’s Theater not only to bring theater to the area that children can participate in — such as the upcoming production of “Aladdin” — but also to area schools, where kids can learn about what it takes to put on a play.

“Maybe it’s the first time a child sees something like that, and it sparks them,” Cardwell said.

In fact, showing off at the auction was a group of dancers from the Moses Lake Valley Academy — including the High Velocity Dance Company — which teaches ballet and dance.

“My niece performed with the dancers,” Cardwell said. “I didn’t know she was going to. This really is a connected community.”

It is also the Allied Arts’ premier fundraising event.

“As we go forward looking for other donations and financial supporters, they really like to see community support,” Cardwell said. “It makes up a big chunk of our budget that we use to bring acts here.”

“Without this, we aren’t able to continue,” said Allied Arts board member Doreen McGraw. “It’s really important.”

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at countygvt@columbiabasinherald.com.

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