Everything has a beginning.
The Arts & Jazz Festival was conceived as a music booster’s fundraiser that helped the jazz band attend the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. “It all started with that fundraiser,” organizer Dorita Gray said. “We always ended up making much more money than we needed, and it was a nice event for the school that we decided to continue.”
Since then, Arts & Jazz has evolved significantly and now boasts an auction, dance and community celebration every year. “[The boosters] eventually became the Blaine Fine Arts Association,” Gray said. “Now the funds are shared and benefit the school district’s arts, choir, band and drama students and so on. It’s the largest amount we fundraise all year.”
Gray said that on average the Blaine Fine Arts Association has been able to award at least $3,000 in scholarships from the money it raises through the year, and much of it comes from the festival. “We give less to Lionel Hampton now, but more students benefit.” Departments are able to allocate the funds as they see fit, and may buy or replace equipment or may use the funds for travel expenses for a field trip to a museum or play.
“We’ll come together and have a good party and really celebrate what the kids are doing and learning,” Gray said. “It’ll be a little different this year with the wind ensemble there. They don’t typically perform at the festival, but then again, we don’t typically go to Japan, so its a great chance to honor them as well.” The wind ensemble will begin their performance at 7:15 p.m., just as the festival night commences.
The jazz band will also perform, giving attendees the opportunity to dance the night away, and student artists will be on hand to capture the night with pencil and paper. City manager Gary Tomsic will call the live auction, one of three auctions for the night.
Arts & Jazz will also present the second annual Arts & Jazz Friend of the Arts Award to a member of the community.
“We’ve been so blown away by how supportive everyone is of Arts & Jazz, so its great to be able to honor them for their involvement and promotion of the arts in the Blaine community,“ Gray said.
The event begins at 7 p.m., Saturday, January 26 in the Blaine High School cafeteria. Live and silent auctions will feature donations from local businesses and individuals, including art, getaways, gourmet dinners and goods and services. All funds raised will go to providing scholarships, equipment and funds for art experiences beyond the Blaine schools district’s curriculum.
“We’re all volunteers here,” Gray said. “So 100 percent of the money raised is going to support the arts in the Blaine school district.”
For more information about the event, contact Dorita Gray at 360/380-1634 or Christy Imperio at 360/210-4100.