Patriotic theme brings out — and in — Naples arts supporters

Patriotic theme brings out — and in — arts supporters

Cherry Smith, chair of the United Arts Council gala, offered some spirited cheers for arts supporters in Collier County.

Photo by PEGGY FARREN

Cherry Smith, chair of the United Arts Council gala, offered some spirited cheers for arts supporters in Collier County.

PEGGY FARREN 
 Charles Marshall, left, and Richard Tooke were among the United Arts Council supporters who relished the cool November evening outdoors on the von Liebig Art Center.

Photo by PEGGY FARREN

PEGGY FARREN Charles Marshall, left, and Richard Tooke were among the United Arts Council supporters who relished the cool November evening outdoors on the von Liebig Art Center.

PEGG FARREN 
 Chris and Bill Barnett got a chance to relax before he took on the auctioneering duties for the United Arts Council of Collier County's gala Nov. 5.

Photo by PEGGY FARREN

PEGG FARREN Chris and Bill Barnett got a chance to relax before he took on the auctioneering duties for the United Arts Council of Collier County's gala Nov. 5.

PEGGY FARREN 
 Left, Betty Newman, Renee Zepeda, Susan Sokol and Kristin Vaughn, all United Arts Council board members, enjoyed the balmy evening outdoors. The gala, opening 'Celebrate the Arts' month, was spread throughout the von Liebig Art Center and its piazza.

Photo by PEGGY FARREN

PEGGY FARREN Left, Betty Newman, Renee Zepeda, Susan Sokol and Kristin Vaughn, all United Arts Council board members, enjoyed the balmy evening outdoors. The gala, opening "Celebrate the Arts" month, was spread throughout the von Liebig Art Center and its piazza.

PEGGY FARREN 
 Narrator Peter Thomas stilled the crowd with his reading of a poem memorialzing the tragedy of 9-11.

Photo by PEGGY FARREN

PEGGY FARREN Narrator Peter Thomas stilled the crowd with his reading of a poem memorialzing the tragedy of 9-11.

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.

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