By Sue Moore
It’s been two full years since the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center became a reality. With a constant need to raise money to keep it going, the staff of the Center organized an art auction in 2016 as a fundraiser that helped to keep the doors open for a second year. It was so successful that Syd Bastos and Lisa Beams, sparkplugs behind this success, are presenting the Vicksburg Arts Spectacular on Saturday, November 11 from 5:30 to 9:30 to further cement the Arts Center’s place in the community.
It will be an art auction fundraiser with lots of moving parts on the four corners of downtown Vicksburg. There will be a live auction in the Community Center offering seven major items. The centerpiece: a package called “Party at the Paper Mill” for 25 people.
Paper City Development has planned an unforgettable evening – a 30’s style party for twenty-five at the Mill. Staffed by members of Paper City, Ryan Collins, Stephany and Mike Frederick, the event will be in an undisclosed location within the Mill with access gained through a secret door and a coded password – just like Grandma and Grandpa did during Prohibition! The winning bidder will work with the staff of Paper City to create a special menu reflective of the era. Live entertainment will add extra zest to the evening. The opening bid: $900.
The Cultural Arts Center began as a gleam in local artists’ eyes and opened at 200 S. Main Street in 2015. It has since gone through several iterations, looking to find the right mix of art work for sale, visitor center operations and entertainment venue. Together, Bastos and Beams have taken the operation to a new level, according to John DeBault, president of the Downtown Development Authority which oversees the work of these two ladies and their staff.
Things are on a solid footing for the Center. It moved its operations to 101 E. Prairie Street with plans to eventually move to the former Doris Lee shop next door at 103 E. Prairie when renovations of the space are complete. Thus, the need continues to raise funds and bring the best of local artists’ work for public consumption, according to Bastos.
The Arts Spectacular will use all three buildings to showcase the current and future spaces that will allow the Center to be even more active in the community. To date it has held 58 events engaging more than 250 artists and musicians and over 7,000 visitors. It’s clear that the Arts Center is becoming a part of the tapestry of the community, according to DeBault.
Guests will register at 103 E. Prairie, where they will get a sneak peek at the future home of the Arts Center. Next door, the Gallery will be open where items will be displayed for bidding in the Silent Auction. Musical performances will run all evening in the Gallery including Whiskey Before Breakfast, Bob and Kathy Brandt, Sky and Walker Truckey, and Adam Wallace. Guests will also enjoy live music at the Community Center with emerging artist Megan Happel opening the evening, an excerpt of the next Revelry Theatre production, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”, and musician Patricia Pettinga performing with Bill Willging just prior to the live auction.
This year, the guest auctioneer will be Mark Mitchell, Vicksburg Rotary Club president. He will be tantalizing bidders with uncommon items such as The Monty Python, a crazy collection of items fit for the King and his Knights of the Round table; The Big Head Todd Special, including tickets to their concert at the State Theatre, a collection of CD’s and memorabilia, hotel accommodations in downtown Kalamazoo and dinner before the show; and The Distant Whistle Package, including a Mug Club Membership, growler and pint glasses for filling, a custom colors mug, and a Distant Whistle shirt.
Silent auction items run the gamut from original works of art, spa treatments, auto care and sports packages, Miller Auditorium tickets and much more. The Center is adding daily to its list of items. Guests can follow the event on facebook.com/vicksburgculturalartscenter.
Tickets are $40 and include entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, special non-alcoholic beverages and delectable desserts. Tickets are limited to 125 and can be purchased at the Vicksburg Arts Center Gallery at 101 E. Prairie in Vicksburg and at vicksburgarts.com.