Saturday, June 24, 2017 This Week's Paper

Arts & Entertainment:Sultry Summer Night Soiree raises funds for Tacoma City Ballet

The sounds of summer are finally here, but don’t be surprised if the temperature rises just a bit July 21 thanks to Tacoma City Ballet’s Sultry Summer Night Soiree. This benefit, taking place at the Merlino Art Center at 7 p.m., will bring together some of the community’s most standout artists, musicians and performers, all to benefit the ballet company’s popular scholarship program. For $10, guests will enjoy an evening featuring the works of local visual artists, authors, musicians, dancers and filmmakers. A no-host bar will be available for attendees, who will also have an opportunity to mingle with the artists throughout the night. “We wanted this to be a very interactive night celebrating art,” said Melissa Lovejoy Goldman, director of community relations, development and marketing. Tacoma City Ballet’s entire studio space will be transformed into a unique version of a sultan’s tent, creating a fun getaway for guests to learn more about the artists. “We have a long history of collaborating with different types of artists,” she said, adding that the company’s set designers are often visual artists from the community. The company’s scholarship program benefits at least one-third of its students. “There are never enough funds to cover the full cost of tuition, so any part of the cost we can defray is beneficial to our students,” Lovejoy Goldman said. At least two former scholarship students have gone on to dance professionally in Seattle and Bellevue. This fundraiser is the primary source of funding for the scholarship program, but administrators are always accepting donations. Artists participating in the fundraiser will also be selling their art throughout the night, with a percentage of the sales benefiting the scholarship program. Artists slated to appear include Stephanie Ayhens, Letha Colleen Myers, Maria Jost, Alisha Cushing, Jocelyn Bowman, Josephine E. Rice, Celeste C. Robinette, Isabel Rubio, Steven Lee Wetzel and Mary C. Zins. Choreographed dances, literary readings and film screenings will also be featured throughout the night. “Part of our goal is to assist local artists to show their work to the community, as well as raise money for our scholarships,” Lovejoy Goldman said. “We’re excited for our audience to have a chance to interact with the local art community.” The event takes place July 21 at 7 p.m. in the Merlino Arts Center, located at 508 6th Ave. To purchase tickets, visit