On Saturday, November 15, three-hundred community members raised nearly $160,000 in support of Centrum, the multidisciplinary nonprofit organization which provides artist workshops, artist residencies and public performances at Fort Worden State Park. This year’s Gala was held at the Fort Worden Commons which was transformed into an elegant venue reminiscent of an arts and crafts style lodge.
“We’re so humbled and thankful for this show of community support,” said Cindy McBride, this year’s Gala’s Chair. Almost $70,000 was raised specifically for scholarships. “Centrum’s mission is to provide arts experience that change lives, and there is no more direct way to do that than to offer scholarships,” added Kisha Palmer, Centrum’s managing director.
Centrum Board President Libby Reid noted that the funds raised were a testament to the volunteers and donors who made the Gala happen. “We are deeply grateful to the many dozens of volunteers who donated their time, energy and creativity to the Gala,” she said. “Centrum is an amazing organization to work for and we appreciate the support we receive from everyone.
Kitsap Bank served as presenting sponsor for the 2008 Gala and shares Centrum’s strong commitment to the arts and improving the quality of life in the communities it serves.
The theme of Centrum’s 2008 Gala was “A Sense of Place.” a celebration of Fort Worden as a beloved gathering place, the generosity of donors who have transformed the Fort into a renowned learning center, and the particular delights of regional cuisine and wine.
Emi Meyer, a former Centrum jazz student, was flown in from Los Angeles for the evening to present a musical performance. She noted how much her time at Centrum greatly added to furthering her career as an professional artist. Her CD’s were a sell out with Gala attendees.
Besides scholarship funds, additional support for Centrum was raised through a sale of unique, fixed-price experiences that were sold through a Gatherings Catalog, given to each guest in advance of the Gala. All of these opportunities were donated by individuals and businesses. They included such offerings as: two seats for the San Francisco Symphony along with a two night stay in San Francisco; a week at Hakima’s Moroccan Cooking School in Marrakech, Morocco; a week at Villa Del Mar, Puerto Vallarta; a cruise aboard the wooden sloop “Annie Too,” Brisa Charters; a luxurious vacation villa in Marbella, Spain; a southern Italian dinner for four at Lanza’s Ristorante; a child’s birthday party complete with a real fire engine; a Christmas in Kauai; and over ninety additional experiences.
The Gala dining experience was directed by Bon Appétit Management Company, led by Fort Worden’s executive chef Jay Payne—former owner of Port Townsend’s Wild Coho Restaurant. He presented a seasonal feast to spotlight locally produced and grown items such as a salad of roasted beets and frisee with Mt. Townsend cheese; grilled flat iron steak with a crab tartlet; timbale of grilled eggplant; and rose petal pound cake with cherries jubilee.
Three guest chefs prepared hors d’oeuvres during the Gala’s opening reception. Guests had the opportunity to sample and watch appetizers being made by Craig Hetherington of TASTE Restaurant at the Seattle Art Museum, Tamara Murphy of Seattle’s Brasa Restaurant, and Adam Stevenson of Seattle’s Earth and Ocean Restaurant. Music during the reception hour was provided by the George Radebaugh Trio.
Venue decorations and exquisite table settings—contributed by Petals Flowers and Prud’homme Interiors—complemented the specialty cuisine. Subdued lighting, water fountains, bamboo timber and mosses, and a bronze forest decorated the space. Denise Blanchard of Petals and Anthony Prud’homme took their design inspiration from artist Morris Graves, the wild and wooly November weather, the Hoh Rain Forest, and the Arts and Crafts architecture of the Commons.