Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mesa’s Art on the Move lets you dress up for a good cause
Even the hoity-toitiest of arts organizations in the Valley of the Sun — aka the land of cargo shorts and flip-flops — know not to expect blacktie fineries from their audiences.

But once a year the Mesa Arts Center Foundation humbly requests the presence of your cummerbund for its annual fundraising gala, Art on the Move.

The $175-a-plate dinner, auction and evening of light entertainment on Nov. 11 at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa is not only a way to support MAC education programs and performing arts groups — organizers hope to bring in $125,000 from the evening — it’s also an excuse to dust off tuxedos and pull cocktail dresses from the backs of closets.

“Quite frankly,” organizer Debbie Ardolino says with a chuckle, “this is my first opportunity this year to dress up.”

The effort goes toward a good cause, she says. This year’s city budget cutbacks in arts support have threatened several MAC programs, including its Stageworks theater for young audiences. The foundation largely picked up the slack. Art on the Move, now in its seventh year, is only part of more than $780,000 the foundation looks to raise this year.

Beyond raising ducats for the arts center, the event also unites a few of Mesa’s favorite arts groups: Will Prather’s Broadway Palm, the Valley’s mega-dinner theater, is hosting the event in its supperand-showhouse and providing a multicourse meal and entertainment from its current production of the musical “A Chorus Line.” The evening will be emceed by Brian Nissen, star and creator of “Citrus Valley Playhouse,” a staged variety show that’s quickly become a staple at the MAC.

The silent and live auctions will include donated items from Valley watercolorist Peri Miller and Scottsdale architect Paolo Soleri, who has donated a set of the ceramic and metal wind bells for which he’s best known. Guests looking to get away from home for a while can bid on an eight-day, seven-night trip to Maui.

“It’s a coming together of all these people to support the Mesa Arts Center,” says Ardolino, “which is wonderful.”

Art on the Move
When: 6 p.m. Nov. 11
Where: Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, 5247 E. Brown Road, Mesa
Cost: $175
Information: (480) 219-8052 or