WGAA Gala gives thanks to local art community, supporters

Art Deco ’20s is the theme of the upcoming gala that benefits the Winter Garden Art Association and SoBo Art Gallery.

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  • | 12:26 p.m. February 12, 2020
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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The Winter Garden Art Association’s upcoming gala is looking to bring guests back to the roaring ’20s.

The sixth annual fundraising gala presented by the association and SoBo Art Gallery, is set for  6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, at the pavilion at downtown Winter Garden at 104 S. Lakeview Ave. Gala guests will be roaring into the ’20s with this year’s art deco ’20s theme. Creative ’20s or cocktail attire is encouraged for those who wish to attend. Guests can expect to enjoy food, beverages, live entertainment, an auction and mingling with other fellow art appreciators.

“You’ll have everything from gangster zoot suits to flapper dresses,” said Phil Self, executive director of both the Winter Garden Art Association and SoBo Art Gallery. “We don’t want to make that a requirement, so some people can just come in wearing cocktail attire and it’s really nice. We’re not going to turn anybody away.”

The Winter Garden Art Association’s annual gala plays a vital role when it comes to funding much of the activities hosted at the SoBo Art Gallery. Gallery exhibitions, opening receptions and workshops — as well as creative arts and wellness programs held at SoBo — all benefit from the annual gala, which is the association and SoBo Art Gallery’s largest fundraising event each year. The gala also serves as a means to give thanks to the association and SoBo volunteers, supporters and city officials who make the gallery a prime destination for local artists and art lovers, Self said. 

“It is really the city’s chance to have a big event to celebrate the arts, but we are definitely dependent on the gala,” Self said. “This is a chance for the community to really support the arts in a beautiful setting. … It’s been growing each year, and each year our association has more fun with it, so the ideas of a creative community continue to blossom and grow.”

This year’s annual gala will transform the Winter Garden Pavilion into an elegant gathering space complete with art deco ’20s accents and decor to match this year’s theme. In addition to the visual art on display with the decor, this year’s gala also will include some performance art. Actors from the Horizon West Theater Company will be clad in ’20s attire and will mingle amidst the crowd. Throughout the evening, these actors will be breaking out into songs and scenes for guests to enjoy.

“This immersive idea is different than what we’ve done in the past where (the live entertainment) was more on the stage,” Self said.

The way guests will be fed at the gala also will be different. Rather than using a single caterer to feed folks at this year’s event, the gala will be featuring food from different local restaurants, so guests can have a taste of Winter Garden’s culinary offerings.

“This time, we’re going to be featuring several restaurants from here in the area that are going to be doing tastings,” Self said. “There will be more interesting food items, and it kind of gives more of that cocktail party approach. … It’s our chance to say thanks to (supporters), so that’s why we put so much work into the decorations, the entertainment and the food. We want it to be a really glamorous night here in Winter Garden for the people of Winter Garden. It’s a chance to dress up and have ... a fun night right here in town.”