Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chicago’s Black Arts Community ‘Gives Honor to Those Who Give’

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Honoree Dee Robinson (center) with Shirley Jaco, mother of entertainer Lupe Fiasco and Nancy McKeever, chairman of the board, eta Creative Arts Foundation

Double digit dollars raised at annual arts benefit gala

CHICAGO, IL – Chicago’s black arts community gathered on September 7th for eta Creative Arts Foundation’s gala to ‘Give honor to those who Give,’ the theme of the annual fundraiser. The organization was founded in 1971 and serves as one of Chicago’s leading African American cultural performing arts institutions.

Nancy McKeever, eta board chairman, Les Bond, Jr., event co-chair and CEO, Attucks Asset Management and Phillip Thomas, president of eta, greeted over 200 guests.  Among them were Dr. Carol Adams, eta board member and president of the DuSable Museum; Henry English, president, Black United Fund of Illinois and Lester McKeever of Washington, Pittman & McKeever.

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Dorian Sylvain, visual artist and Phillip Thomas, president, eta Creative Arts Foundation

Catered by Fanfares Catering, Inc., the evening began with butlered hors d’oeuvres that included catfish on a stick, plum tomato bruschetta and mouth-watering turkey meatloaf served in petite cast iron skillets with mashed potatoes and sweet corn kernels drizzled with Grandma’s gravy.

ABC Meteorologist Steve Baskerville hosted the gala program that honored esteemed businessman Edward Gardner accompanied by his wife, Bettiann; Spencer Leak, Sr. and Dee Robinson Reid graciously accepted their awards along with WVON Radio, represented by popular on-air personalities Cliff Kelley, Matt McGill and Perri Small; and Shirley Jaco, mother of entertainer Lupe Fiasco accepted on her son’s behalf.

Following dinner and the program, guests moved freely between the auction table bidding on an array of high tech, high fashion and fun items; the Gallery, where the Jazz-Latin-inspired group Crosswind performed; and the tent, which was transformed into a cabaret-style showcase for singers, comedy and a dynamic performance by drummer Taylor Moore.

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eta Board member Raullo Eanes and CBS2 Meteorologist Steve Baskerville

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Lana Cromwell, WVON radio personality Cliff Kelly, honoree Spencer Leak, Sr. and wife Henrietta 

To date, eta has produced over 180 mainstage productions of new works by Black writers and has been honored with over 120 prestigious awards in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the arts.  In addition, eta is the first African American cultural and performing arts institution in the nation to establish an endowment - a fund for the future.  Proceeds from the gala supported eta’s general operating expenses.  For more information, call 773-752-3955 and visit the website at www.etacreativearts.org.

Submitted by Sandra C. Davis
Sandra is a Purpose-Driven Marketing Communications/Branding Strategist and Writer, who connects people, events, nonprofits, and companies with complementary brands and social causes that share their missions and target markets in order to amplify each entities social impact. Ms. Davis is the Creative Director of Lioness Communications and a member of the Chicago Ideas Week Cooperative. Follow Sandra on Twitter at @Sandraloves.

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