By ALLEN RAU
The McKinney Center is offering folks the chance to take home a work of art by a local artist – all for the price of providing a young student a unique learning experience.
“Masterpiece Mingle” is the upcoming art fundraiser that will be held at the McKinney Center in downtown Jonesborough on Friday, March 16, from 7 to 9 p.m. In addition to local art, the event will feature an evening of live music, barbeque and cocktails.
McKinney Center director Theresa Hammons said the fundraising goal of the Center this year was $6,000, which would sponsor 50 scholarships opportunities for the myriad of classes the center offers.
According to a press release for the event, the center has raised 40 percent of the goal and hope this event helps to reach the target.
“Masterpiece Mingle is going to be a fun evening,” she said. “This is the way we are trying to raise money for that scholarship.”
The event will be catered by Maple Street Biscuit Company and The Catering Company with a cash bar by Tennessee Hills Distillery. On the menu are barbecue sliders, sweet biscuits, sweet and sour meatballs, spinach artichoke dip and more.
Live music from vintage folk rock singer and songwriter Scott Wild and the Sulphur Springs String Dippers, a fiddle and guitar based band inspired by Southern Appalachia, will provide the soundtrack for the evening.
Hammons said the Mingle would highlight local artists and the work they produce. As ticket holders enter the event, they will receive a number, which will allow them to take home the artwork labeled with the corresponding number. Hammons said there is also an option to trade that piece for another in the gallery.
Among the items donated are wooden spoons made by Curtis Buchanan, who “sells chairs to Monticello” and “has collectors all over the world” according to Hammons. Other items included are mosaics, paintings, masks and more.
The proceeds from the “Masterpiece Mingle,” she said, would give children from low-income families an opportunity to take classes at the center.
“First of all, our classes are affordable,” Hammons added, “Second of all, the scholarship makes it accessible for people who just can’t afford it.”
She said the average income for a family with children in the McKinney scholarship program is $19,450 while the US poverty level is $24,600.
“Those numbers say a lot; the McKinney Center scholarship families are $5,000 below the US average. This demonstrates a need for kids to be involved in the arts.”
All materials and expenses are covered by the scholarships.
Hammons said that the arts program helps children acquire integral life skills and learn lessons that will help them develop.
“They’re working in teams, they’re socializing, they are in a class with kids from all different nationalities and faiths and socio-economic backgrounds. So they’re learning to get along with lots of other people.”
“When (they) take music they’re learning rhythm,” she said. “They’re learning how to count, there are lots of skills they’re learning in these classes that they are going to be able to take with them into the future.”
“Buying a ticket to the (Masterpiece) Mingle,” Hammons said, “helps all of our kids.”
Tickets for the “Masterpiece Mingle” cost $25 before March 2 and $35 after March 3. They are available for purchase at www.jonesborough.com/tickets. Information is available by calling 423-753-1010.