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Clarke Area Arts Council Spring Gala in full swing

Reservations due by Friday, April 21

Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 9:43 a.m. CDT

Join the Clarke Area Arts Council (CAAC) 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday, April 30, at Lakeside Hotel and Casino to celebrate and support the arts in Osceola. Each year, the council hosts the Spring Gala – a festive gathering featuring food, fun and performances, bundled together with the group’s annual meeting.

Entry is the cost of a yearly membership, starting at $25 for an individual. Additional tickets running $15 each. “If you come to the party, you’re automatically a member,” said CAAC founder Mary Ellen Kimball. Reservations are due Friday, April 21.

The Spring Gala traces its roots back to the ‘80s at the Osceola Country Club.

“We decided we would have a little party, and people would come and could pay their membership,” said Kimball.

Unfortunately, at the time, the only available facility left members to manage setup, preparations, cleaning and entertainment by themselves. The casino proved to be a welcome addition.

Sunday night’s event includes a presentation by Artist of the Year, Allen Hendrickson, with each member receiving a professional print of one of his intarsia, sculptures made through wooden inlay techniques. Afterward, guests will take part in a buffet-style dinner, followed by CAAC’s annual meeting details and a performance by The Scott Smith Trio, featuring Scott Smith (piano, vocals), Steve Charlson (bassist), Julius Brooks (saxophone).

CAAC President Ann Diehl was familiar with the group, having seen them frequently in Des Moines over the years. The band was a staple at Adventureland Inn during the holidays, where she and her late-husband Fred took their children for New Years’ celebrations. Along with being part of the Des Moines Jazz Hall of Fame, the Trio members have toured with award-winning artists, such as Sarah Vaughan and Ann Margaret. The night is the perfect mix of information, entertainment and invitiation to get involved in the local art scene.

“If you come to the party, you’re automatically a member,” said Kimball.

Osceola draws members from all over central and southern Iowa for a reason. Over the years, the group has staged major performances, hosting two or more most years. They host art classes, arrchitectural walks, and have even delved into synchronized swimming and belly dancing.

“It’s not just pictures or music,” said Diehl. “Our purpose is to bring the arts to the community, and I think we’ve done a good job of that.”

Members get special pricing on all of the classes and events CAAC hosts throughout the year. Two-hundred twenty members attended in 2016, despite being held on Mother’s Day, the organizers said. They expect more this time around.

“It’s just a fun party,” said Diehl. “It really is.”

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