July 24, 2014  

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Centennial Arts Gala Tickets Go On Sale Today

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The Arts Gala team
From left, Jerry DeFatta, executive director of the Southern Miss Alumni Association; Dr. Denise von Herrmann, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters; Phillip Pitts of Parris Jewelers; Millie Swan, Forrest General Hospital Chief of Marketing and Medical Staff Services Officer; Stancy Gullung, gala chair; Barbara Carter, Partners for the Arts; Fran Ginn, gala food and wine chair; and Mike Lopinto; gala designer

Tickets are now on sale for the spectacle that has become a University of Southern Mississippi tradition – the Arts Gala.  In the 2010 Centennial version, themed “Gold,” patrons will enter a golden world and travel through time celebrating the university’s 100 years at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16 at the Lake Terrace Convention Center. 

A spectacular vision from the award-winning creators of the Atlantis and Shangri-La Galas as well as the 2009 Arts Gala, “Gold” promises to be one of the single largest fundraising events in South Mississippi, with the combined talents of more than 500 performers taking guests on an extraordinary journey through the decades.

Designed by Dr. Mike Lopinto, marketing and event manager for the College of Arts and Letters, the event will be realized and amplified by the multi-talented faculty, staff and students of the arts at Southern Miss who jump-start their performance and exhibit year with this enormous effort.

“The gala is a way to show people the arts at Southern Miss and show them a level of professional entertainment and talent like they have never seen before – right here at my school,” said Anastasia Talley, a junior music education major from Clinton and scheduled performer in the show.

Plans for this year’s gala are top-secret, but guests can expect a club atmosphere with sparkling amenities, a sumptuous buffet and entertainment from some very special musical guests, dancers, and actors, like Talley.

The event’s goal is to raise much-needed funds to enhance and sustain the prestigious arts offerings at Southern Miss. Several local businesses have underwritten many of the event costs and many individuals have given above and beyond the ticket price to show their support.

“Forrest General is committed to providing the best health care experience,” said Millie Swan, Forrest General Hospital’s chief of marketing and medical staff services officer. Forrest General is sponsor of the exquisite gala invitation. 

“We are focused on physical health, but we know the important role that a healthy spirit also plays in your total wellness,” Swan said. “The arts at Southern Miss have been providing high-quality arts events and exhibitions enhancing the quality of life in our community for generations. We are happy to be a part of their Centennial celebration and this wonderful evening featuring and benefiting their talents." 

Inside the invitation is the coveted “golden ticket” sponsored by Parris Jewelers. This gleaming ticket is a hot commodity to arts devotees. 

“We have already had a tremendous response to advance tickets that were made available to Partners for the Arts members” said Lopinto, event designer and director. “We expect to sell out for this special anniversary show that is packed with some of the greatest music we’ve ever presented.”

Doors open for the gala at 7 p.m., with the show to begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are now on sale for $100 each to the public by calling 601.266.5922. Sponsorships and donations are also still being accepted.