Every year, the Center for the Creative Arts in Yorklyn hosts nearly 100 different summer camps for children from 4 to 14 years old. The camps cover almost every kind of imaginative interest, from classics like painting and drawing to topics and interests like "art you can eat," hip hop dancing, theater and American Girl dolls. There's even a painting camp that brings in a live horse on the last day that participants get to paint.
However, a week of full day of camp can cost $350, an exorbitant expense that is out of reach for many families. It's important to CCAarts staff members, though, that all kids, regardless of their finances, be able to pursue their creative interests. So, five years ago, the center began organizing the "Luck of the Draw" fundraising event in an effort to provide scholarships for children who wouldn't otherwise be able to attend camp.
"The children who apply for our scholarships usually have a special interest in art that they wouldn't otherwise be able to pursue over the summer" said CCArts Executive Director Carla Pastore. "Part of the application actually requires artwork to be included so we can see just how much a child would benefit."
This year, "Luck of the Draw" is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21. As usual, Victoria Wyeth, the only grandchild of local artist Andrew Wyeth, will emcee the event. Wyeth has been a part of the event since its inception in 2009.
"We met her at the Brandywine Museum and invited her to come tour our facility to see what we do," Pastore said, explaining how Wyeth came to be involved. "From the very beginning, she was so excited to be involved and committed to the concept. She thinks it's great that kids get to experience art."
Wyeth was actually just at the center a couple of weeks ago helping students with a project related to the fundraiser. Working with four and five-year-olds and a potter's wheel, they squirted acrylic paints onto a turning plate, creating colorful works of art that will be used as the fundraiser's centerpieces.
The event is a fundraiser but it's also a party that includes free wine, a gourmet menu, live music and mingling. This year, Back Burner Restaurant agreed to be the caterer and guests will be able to munch on fare like bacon-wrapped scallops, stuffed mushrooms and duck spring rolls. State Line Liquor will provide the wine.
When guests arrive, they'll notice art, most of it original and donated by local artists, lining the walls. Each participating guest will choose a playing card and that's when the fun starts.
Page 2 of 2 - One by one, Wyeth will choose a card from the deck. When she announces the card, the person with the matching card gets one minute to choose any work of art on the walls.
"Because the works are of such high quality, even people whose cards get chosen near the end go home happy, especially since many of the works are worth well more than the ticket price of $85," said Pastore. "Each ticket holder can also bring a non-participating guest for just $15."
The night also includes a live auction, also emceed by Wyeth, which will include fine art pieces like larger paintings, wearable art, 3-D and 2-D pieces.
Despite all the work that goes into planning a large fundraising event, Pastore said that she looks forward to it every year.
"I like the way it combines the artwork of local artists in a way that benefits children interested in arts, "said Pastore. "Those children grow up to be artists, too, and the cycle continues and grows. Plus, the event is just so much fun and full of good energy."