The United Arts Council of Collier County decided not to go all out for its "Celebrate the Arts" month gala this year.
Instead, it went half-in, half-out, beginning with a sweet arrival serenade by an ensemble from the Paradise Coastmen Barbershop Chorus on the plaza in front of the von Liebig Art Center. From there, bidders could linger in the lobby to peruse a tableful of auction items including trips, dinners, Oriental rugs and other must-haves in the foyer of the von Liebig Art Center, then stroll out onto its back piazza for drinks and passed hors d'oeuvres. A buffet in the main gallery, catered by Patric's, brought in the 150 supporters back indoors to sample American specialties with a twist that even included a sophisticated mac and cheese on the side.
Some of the diners lingered outside to savor a perfect November evening while most took in a poignant 9-11 poem offered by TV narrator Peter Thomas for the patriotically themed celebration, and to hear welcomes from UAC President Mark Klym and event chair Cherry Smith.
Spirited rounds of bidding revolved around auctioneer Bill Barnett, mayor of Naples, for the prizes, followed by a cakewalk, a heartland America tradition. Unlike numbers, however, famous artists' names were the floor decals that the parade, who had bought $10 tickets scrambled for when the music stops. Winners took home elegant cakes from Tony's Off Third.
Music brought the final procession indoors from outside, with dancers swaying to'80s and '90s hits from Trevor Earl.
The patriotic celebration brought in $46,000 for the organization, which is Collier County's voice for the arts to the state of Florida and a strong organizer of arts programs for at-risk youth and adults who lack arts access. It also serves as a coordinator/liaison for all arts organizations in Collier County.
For more information, see www.uaccollier.com or call 239-263-8242.