Amber Robinson, co-chair of the Potpourri 2012 OnStage, stands next to a piece of art that will be on sale during the fundraiser event at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. (Special to The Commercial/William Harvey)
The Catherine M. Bellamy Theatre at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas will be turned into a grand ballroom when the stage floor is extended over the audience seats creating an extraordinary venue for Potpourri 2012 OnStage.
The bi-annual fundraiser event will be held Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the center, 701 S. Main St.
This year’s co-chairmen, Laura O’Keefe Smart and Amber Johnson Robinson, are planning the two exciting events, according to Lenore Shoults, executive director of the A&S Center.
On Nov. 30, from 7-10 p.m., the event will feature the band Big Phil and the Chill, heavy hors d’oeuvres, margaritas, a wine and beer pull, and a preview of the artwork, parties, jewelry, and other items that will be available at the silent and live auctions on Dec. 1.
On Dec. 1, the black-tie optional evening will open at 6 p.m., with a cocktail hour and silent auction followed by dinner and the perennially popular live auction.
Smart grew up in Pine Bluff and said she loves the community and the Arts & Science Center — especially everything that the center does for children. She said she is co-chairing Potpourri because of the arts education that the center provides for Pine Bluff and the surrounding area. Smart is married to Lee Smart and they have reared five children and have gained four additional children through marriage. They have six grandchildren. She has served on past PTA Boards, Little League committees, and First Methodist Church committees.
Robinson also grew up in Pine Bluff and earned a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology from Northeast State University and a master’s degree in communications disorders from the University of Arkansas. She said she is co-chairing Potpourri to ensure that every child in Southeast Arkansas has a chance to grow, learn, and develop interest in the areas of art and science. She is a member of Junior League, where she has chaired the signature fundraising event, Ragin Cajun, and served as community vice president and is currently president elect-elect.
The logos for Potpourri 2012 OnStage were designed by Pine Bluff High School art students DaQuaron R. Dale and Ashley Gragg, whose work was part of the PBHS annual art exhibition at the center. DaQuaron painted “Lady Sings the Blues”, a portrait of a jazz singer that graces the save-the-date cards, invitations, and posters, and Ashley Gragg painted the signature lips logo. In addition to the artwork being used to promote the event, the original pieces will be part of the artwork that is on sale during the Potpourri art auction.
Shoults said a few of the impressive items that will be available for auction are a diamond necklace from Sissy’s Log Cabin; a Yeti cooler, grill, and other tailgate party items from MK Distributors; a Rolling Stones autographed guitar sponsored by Simmons First National Bank; a 007 movie poster autographed by all six James Bond actors and the secret agent’s weapon of choice, the Walther PPK380, sponsored by Pine Bluff National Bank; and artwork by Kevin Cole and James Hayes — among other prominent artists whose work is currently on exhibition at the Arts & Science Center. Visit www.ArtsScienceCenter.org for an expanded list of items for auction at Potpourri.
Shoults said proceeds from Potpourri fund the wide range of Arts & Science Center programs — from visual and performing arts to science and engineering. Some of the activities that are made possible by the community’s generous support of Potpourri include theatrical and musical performances; exhibits from nationally acclaimed and up-and-coming artists; Live@ 5 monthly jazz series; science and engineering exhibitions from the Arkansas Discovery Network; school field trips, classes, workshops, internships, education outreach, and community collaborations; and the Main Street exhibition space.
Tickets to attend this first-time-ever transformation of the center’s theater are $60 per person for Nov. 30, $100 per person for Dec. 1, and $150 per person for both nights. Seating is limited and attendees are encouraged to secure their tickets early.
For more information, contact the center at 870-536-3375.