Politics, arts, comedy and the Lubeznik Center for the Arts. Not a group of words that would normally be seen together, but on Saturday night they meshed to create a fantastic evening. Each year the Lubeznik Center for the Arts hosts their annual Art Bash - a gala fundraiser for the center - and this year, with it’s theme changing every year, they put on Politics: A Spoof. A night that was aimed to make their guests laugh in the name of celebrating the arts.
Art Bash is a party that always expertly brings together arts and entertainment for a night that’s very unique. For 2016 the people at Lubeznik wanted to focus on a more light hearted idea, and one that would easily take the Art Bash to a place it hasn’t been before.
Erika Hanner, Executive Director of Lubeznik Center for the Arts, explained that the idea for the theme was inspired by the current political climate and the opportunity to have fun with it.
“Everyone knows what an odd, particularly interesting election year. So we were thinking if we should ignore it or go for it, but one of our co-chair’s actually thought of making it a spoof,” Hanner stated. “It’s a good way for people to have some fun and let off some steam - and to ignore the reality of what’s happening. Tonight’s about having a good time in the name of LCA, as well as it being our biggest fundraiser of the year.”
As guests entered the red, white and blue themed Stardust Event Center at Blue Chip Casino they first ushered to a Mount Rushmore themed “selfie station”, but were also immediately welcomed by some of the city’s best performers - the Michigan City marching band. The band, in their blue uniforms and led by band directors Rich Merrick and Derek Meilaender, played at full volume to showcase their talents to Art Bash’s guests. The band were more than happy to be a part of the night, and band director Meilaender stated that being there is a good way to let the kids shine.
“We have about 15 kids here in the band today, but even with a small band we get the noise across. Today’s great for them to get out and play during the summer,” Meilaender stated. “It’s great to see that so many are pulling together throughout the region to support the arts, and we’re glad to be a part of something that’s helping to continue the arts in our community.”
Throughout the night guests were welcomed to bid on a full array of auction items, and to chow down on American themed food from different parts of the country. To fulfill the ‘Spoof’ even further, Lubeznik made the main event of the night Second City Works, Chicago’s famous traveling comedy group, to much delight of everyone in the room.
It’s safe to say that Art Bash left an impression on the people who hold the center near and dear, but also to the ones who aren’t entirely familiar. Dolores Connolly, who is currently spending the summer in Beverly Shores, stated that she has been to Lubeznik in the past, but thought the event would be a good way to support them even further.
“It’s so impressive to see that there’s a place like Lubeznik in a community like this, as well as the Uptown Arts District. A place like this really does help bring a future to this city,” Connolly stated. “To see small towns to get a little bit of a lift from the arts is so powerful, and incredibly important. That’s why I wanted to be here tonight, and it’s been great so far. It’s truly an impressive event.”
In the end, Art Bash - as much as it is a night of fun and entertainment - it is certainly a night that means a ton to the livelihood of Lubeznik. Amy Davis Navardauskas, Marketing Director, stated that overall the show of support truly does make a difference for the center.
“Tonight is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and our goal is to raise $150,000 - which is no easy feat. One of our biggest parts of the night is the paddle raising and the auction, so it is an opportunity to get support for Lubeznik in a fun way.” Navardauskas stated.
“This is an evening that really pulls people together who support Lubeznik, a lot of who we don’t get to see very often. It’s really an event that allows us to see our community come together, and that’s a really exciting thing to witness.”