REGIONAL — The Hampton Arts 34th Anniversary Gala, “Broadway Under the Stars,” will celebrate the performing and visual arts in Coastal Virginia with a concert, dinner, silence auction and other festivities.
The gala will be held on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. at The American Theatre, 125 E Mellen St., and will feature a performance from Virginia jazz artist Desirée Roots and a spotlight on the three recipients of the annual Coastal Virginia Renaissance Award.
Established thirty-four years ago, Hampton Arts has hosted the anniversary gala for the last four years, starting with its 30th anniversary. Each year, the gala is held in September to kick off the season.
While Hampton Arts took the year off in 2020 due to the pandemic, the gala is returning this year.
Hampton Arts Artistic Director Richard M. Parison, Jr. is looking forward to celebrating the ongoing contribution of the arts to our community.
“I think we’ve realized in the past 18 plus months that the performing and visual arts have remained a mainstay for our community,” Parison said. “The arts and culture have been a part of whats kept so many people in our region going.”
The gala festivities kicked off in late August with the opening of the online silent auction, which features an array of national, regional and local items, including an autographed guitar signed by all members of The Rolling Stones, a sports jersey signed by Michael Jordan, local staycations at hotels in Hampton and hair and spa packages.
The items range from $100 to $7,000, with proceeds going to support the Hampton Arts Foundation.
Headliner Desirée Roots is a Virginia native and has been a regional performer for 35 years. She has performed at the American Theatre numerous times and has traveled throughout the East Coast with Broadway tours and singing groups.
“We really wanted to reconnect with a local Virginia artist to perform as our signature headliner,” Parison said. “And Desirée has performed onstage at the theatre in several seasons and is always an audience favorite. So we knew that she was the right person to invite for this welcome-home gala.”
This year, the Hampton Arts Foundation’s annual Coastal Virginia Renaissance Award will be presented to three recipients: actor Terry O’Quinn, Coliseum Central Business District, and the City of Hampton.
O’Quinn is an actor best known for playing John Locke on the TV series Lost and now resides in Virginia Beach. The foundation is honoring him for his artistic achievements and his commitment to the region as a local arts advocate.
The City of Hampton is being awarded for its leadership during the pandemic, while the Coliseum Central Business District is being awarded for its corporate leadership throughout Hampton.
Parison emphasizes the impact the arts has on the community.
“The performing and the visual arts have always been and continue to be the fire in my belly,” he said. “It’s the idea that the arts are a reflection of who we are as individuals and as a community. To get up every day and fulfill that commitment on the City of Hampton and to share the artistic expression throughout our region is extremely fulfilling both on a personal and a professional level.”
Parison said that the foundation is committed to providing a Covid-safe environment for the celebration and will be updating gala participants and attendees on any changes or updates.
Tickets and sponsorships are available online.