With schools everywhere cutting funding to arts organizations, it’s more important than ever to raise money for arts organizations.
This year, the Leap Into the Arts gala will raise money for South Shore Dance Alliance, Northwest Indiana Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Southlake Children’s Choir, said Nancy Schoon, a Leap Into the Arts committee member and member of the South Shore Dance Alliance board of directors.
The gala will be Feb. 15 at Halls of St. George, Schererville. Over the past five years, the event has raised more than $95,000 for its participants.
Past years have had more than 400 people, and the goal for this year is to sell 500 tickets, said Schoon.
The fundraiser will include a cocktail hour, a family style dinner, silent auction, dancing and performances by all three groups.
“It’s a pretty substantial fundraiser for the three organizations involved,” Schoon said. “Funds raised are used for scholarship programming and support for the organizations. And it’s a really good opportunity for the kids to perform in front of a large crowd and showcase what they do.”
Schoon said South Shore Dance Alliance relies on the fundraiser to help keep programming at a reasonable cost and to provide opportunities for kids who might not be able to afford the program.
Larry Brewer, Artistic Director for South Shore Dance, said the benefit helps provide quality arts education for singers, dancers and musicians throughout Lake County and Northwest Indiana.
“I am proud of the fact that, through this collaborative effort, young artists from all over the region come together to work towards one common goal. I think that everyone will be impressed with the level of artistic maturity that these young artists possess,” he said.
Emily Smith, Youth Orchestra Manager for the Northwest Indiana Symphony, said the money raised from the gala will help pay for a 2014 European tour.
Not only does participating in the symphony give students a chance to explore the world, it allows them to learn in creative ways.
“They use a different side of their brains, and can be creative in ways other than sports,” she said. “They have to listen to each other and work together. They have to be aware of what’s going on around them.”
Schoon said the benefits students get from participating in the arts reaches far beyond the activity itself.
“The self confidence and growth of the children is amazing,” she said. “It extends so far beyond the arts. The self-esteem and confidence they develop through their work goes so far into everything else.”