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An Artistic Evening Like No Other

“ARTS by George!” returns to George Mason stage.

“ARTS by George!,” at the de Laski Performing Arts Building.

“ARTS by George!,” at the de Laski Performing Arts Building. Michelle Stella Riordan/ Courtesy of George Mason University

"It is a lovely, informal event with the concert by Laura Benanti the icing on the cake."

Merrill Shugoll, Co-chair of ‘ARTS by George’

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Guests at the “ARTS by George!” 2012 reception

With an open invitation to the community, the George Mason University College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) is holding its eighth annual "ARTS by George!" event. It has quickly become one of the premiere arts events in Northern Virginia.

The mission of "ARTS by George!" is to showcase and support Mason students in a wide range of artistic fields including arts, dance, music, theater, computer game design, film and video studies and arts management. The gala raises funds to provide for student scholarships. It is capped off this year by the headliner performance of Tony Award winner Laura Benanti.

"We want this to be an event to build and maximize student and community connections. This is a special day since students and the audience will be in such close physical proximity at the performances," said William Reeder, dean, GMU/CVPA. "This will make for a great, vibrant evening.

Where and When

Saturday, Sept. 28 at 5 p.m., "ARTS by George!" takes place at George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax. Performances will be in the de Laski Performing Arts Building as well as Harris Theater and a tented plaza next to the performing arts building. Tickets can be purchased separately for the Laura Benanti concert. Tickets for the entire "ARTS By George!" including student performances and exhibitions, food, beverages, Laura Benanti concert and champagne and dessert reception on stage with the artist are $200/person. Contact Deborah Páez Hoesly at dpaez@gmu.edu or 703-993-4188 or visit artsbygeorge.gmu.edu for details including tax deductible benefits.

"ARTS By George!" schedule:

5 p.m.—Student showcases in visual arts, music, dance, theater, computer game design, film and video studies and arts management throughout the classrooms, studios and performance spaces of the de Laski Performing Arts Building and Harris Theater.

5 p.m.—Creative cuisine and fine wine bars throughout the event.

5 p.m.—Silent auction of unique arts-related items and experiences.

8 p.m.—Concert Hall performance by Laura Benanti.

9:45 p.m.—Champagne and dessert reception on stage with Laura Benanti.

Guests will enjoy performances and exhibitions by CVPA’s student and faculty artists, while enjoying food and wine provided by local businesses. The evening's festivities will also include a silent auction of a wide range of unique arts-related items and experiences.

This year's co-chairs of "ARTS by George" are Mark and Merrill Shugoll. The Shugolls have a long-standing passion for the arts.

“The arts are critical in our society,” said Mark Shugoll. “Giving students on a college campus the opportunity to see great artists perform, while developing their own artistic talents, is a responsibility to which we should all commit.

“ARTS by George!” does just that. Contributions fund performances on campus by leading artists from around the world, as well as scholarships for arts students so they can fulfill their artistic promise."

"ARTS by George" is "the most fantastic event and focuses on students. It is such a rewarding event; so inspiring to see the students perform," said Merrill Shugoll. "It is a lovely, informal event with the concert by Laura Benanti the icing on the cake."

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Tony Award winner Laura Benanti.

Headliner Benanti has won acclaim for her performances as Maria von Trapp in “The Sound of Music,” a Tony nomination for her role in "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" and a 2011 Tony Award for wallflower-turned-stripper Gypsy Rose Lee in “Gypsy.” In performance she is noted for her delightful humor and vocal nuance. Benanti will also give of her time to teach master classes to Mason students.