Submitted by The Washington Center for the Performing Arts

The 3rd Annual CENTER Stage Awards & Gala will be held at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, July 26, 2018. The event is a fundraiser for The Washington Center and an opportunity to celebrate local artists and supporters of the arts. “This year’s gala will have a ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ feel,” says Jill Barnes, Executive Director. “Think fairies, fireflies, and outdoor gardens.”

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Jim This, 218 Commitment to the Arts Award Winner. Photo courtesy: The Washington Center

In celebrating local arts, the gala features a selection of local groups who regularly perform at the Center and call the Center “home.” Barnes says, “We have such a depth of arts in our community, and we’re proud to be able to feature local performing artists during the gala. It’s an eye-opening display of how vast the cultural talent is here, and an opportunity for them to gain new audiences and appreciation.”

During the gala, the Excellence in the Arts awards will be given to those whose work, support, and creativity help build a vibrant cultural community. This year’s Achievement in the Arts awards will be awarded to Olympia Family Theater, which was formed in 2006 by Jen Ryle and Samantha Chandler. OFT provides quality theatrical productions for young audiences. “Olympia Family Theater is helping raise a new generation that loves the performing arts,” says Barnes. “We applaud them for their creativity and tenacity.”

This year’s Commitment to the Arts award will be awarded to local actor, producer, and arts-supporter Jim This. Jim has been active in the local arts community for decades, helping co-found Opus Seventy-One, and secure initial funding for the building of the Washington Center. Through the years, Jim has participated in a number of events and productions throughout the South Sound, and continues to lead productions and acting workshops in the area. “Jim has been a huge supporter of the Center and all performing arts throughout Thurston County,” says Barnes. “His legacy is tremendous, and we can’t wait to recognize him for his lifetime of work.”

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en Ryle and Samantha Chandler, Olympia Family Theater Founders, 2018 Achievement in the Arts Photo courtesy: The Washington Center

In addition to cocktail hour, full dinner, awards ceremony, live auction, and entertainment, this year’s fund-a-need will help raise money for new audio equipment. The Washington Center is used for over 200 events each year, from local youth arts groups to international touring companies.

Tickets are $125 per person through July 6 and are currently on sale at the Washington Center by calling 360-753-8586 during Box Office hours, or online at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts website.

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