Almost every local arts organization needs an outstretched hand if it is to create and produce its work.
At George Mason University, a dedicated fund has been established to help the arts groups that want to present at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. As part of its mission, the center in Manassas features several local groups throughout its season, as well as the nationally known traveling performers and headliners.
To raise money for the Sen. Charles J. Colgan Community Arts Benefit Fund, the center has enlisted the award-winning Broadway baritone Brian Stokes Mitchell to perform at its May 5 gala.
Versatile on the stage and in television and film, Mitchell — or “Stokes,” as his fans call him — won a Tony for “Kiss Me, Kate” and was nominated for Tonys for his roles in “Man of La Mancha,” “Ragtime.” and “King Hedley II.”
The gala will honor Mason president Alan G. Merten and Sally Merten. Last year, the event raised $135,000, and officials report that this year, the center has already surpassed its goal of $150,000. Tickets for the evening cost $300.
The Hylton celebrated its first season in 2010-11 with 37, 435 patrons. For the 2011-12 season, they had 40, 624 patrons.