Baltimore School for the Arts gala

March 21, 2010|By Sloane Brown Special to The Baltimore Sun

For years, the Baltimore School for the Arts' Saturday night Expressions gala has been a sellout, even with $300 ticket prices. That's why the school also holds a more casual, less expensive version the following Monday. As BSFA celebrated its 30th year, the Monday night party joined the ranks of its big brother.

"It's totally sold out. Look at this. It's unbelievable," said event co-chair Carole Sibel as she viewed the crowd milling in the Segal Gallery, enjoying hors d'oeuvres and cocktails before that evening's student performance.

Her co-chair, Sam Polakoff, said the Monday night event is aimed at a slightly younger crowd of up-and-coming BSFA supporters. "The average age tonight is 40. These are our new leaders. This is our future," he noted.

"We have a cocktail party and then a performance. So we get socializing and culture," said committee member Tracy Kwiatkowski.

"It's a chance to meet really hip, cool people in Baltimore; people who love the arts," said Marjorie Rodgers Cheshire, A&R Companies executive vice president. Almost on cue, Baltimore Raven Domonique Foxworth strolled by with BSFA director Leslie Shepard.

"You always get a diverse mix of people. It's a melting-pot culture that you don't usually get to see in Baltimore," said Daniel Klein, Klein Enterprises partner, explaining why he likes the event.

Part of that diverse crowd included guests who knew the school from its early years, like Brenda Patterson, retired Baltimore City Community College financial aid counselor, and her son, David Patterson, a Baltimore-area musician.

"My daughter ... went to this school 20 years ago, and I've been coming every year," Brenda Patterson explained.

"I've been associated with this school since I was 14 - the opposite of the age I am right now," said James Evans, Illume Communications' creative director. Evans explained that his BSFA history continues. His child is now a student there.

Sloane Brown may be contacted at

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