The Gala is unique to SAC.  If ‘SAC’ was an artist, we would refer to the Gala as its own Signature Piece! Everyone in the region knows about ‘the SAC Gala’ and the excitement and artistic activity it stirs up in the community – and in the region.   I find it an honor to be a part of such an ‘artistic impact’.

The Gala is coming! The Gala is coming!  Yes, it will be the 21st ‘Celebrate the Arts! Fundraising Gala’ that The Steinbach Arts Council has presented.  And it is YOUR Gala. It’s everyone’s Gala.

I clearly remember those early years shortly after the Steinbach Cultural Arts Centre opened, and felt the rumbling of huge potential growth beneath our feet. We realized we needed to step up our fundraising efforts to meet the demand.  Our provincial government funding had been frozen over the past 10 years, and it did not look like it was going to increase anytime soon.

In 1999, I sat around the same board table we have today with a wonderful group of board volunteers from various sectors and interests. Those brainstorming sessions regarding raising funds were exhilarating!  Aida Dyck, an avid supporter of our Arts Community and respected member of the community piped up and said: ‘Let’s create an event so special that women will want to get their hair done to attend it!’ 

And that was it. The ‘Celebrate the Arts!’ Gala was born in the Quarry Oaks Country Club tent venue!

Gala Committee, 2004

Each year the Gala would incorporate a new theme, sponsors and innovative aspects to entice the public from all demographics to attend.  The most significant part to its immediate success was that Aida, our Vice Chair, put her money where her mouth was and engaged a local business woman, Linda Penner, to sponsor all the meals.  She went further to obtain a personal friend  from The Winehouse, as the wine sponsor. Together we forged forward to secure sponsors for all aspects of the event.  The goal? Get everything donated!  It sure says a lot when 21 years later these two sponsors still support SAC.

Aida embraced this Gala as ‘her Gala’ as a board host, and in the way that she was passionate about how important the value of the arts was for her family in the community.  She ‘got it’ seeing how every person involved with the Steinbach Arts Council, or the arts community, would benefit as the fingers of the Gala’s outreach would touch each one of them. It was a joy to have her loyalty to build this event, attracting more sponsors, artists, sponsors and guests to make this event an enormous success.  Her legacy is one of several who has left their mark in SAC’s history of innovative successes.

Fine Art Auction is still a highlight featuring our local artists, after 21 years!

And the rest is history. The Gala has sustained its lustre, with many innovative twists in the themes, appealing to new audiences, and attracting new artists and businesses to participate.  It has raised thousands of dollars over the years, and is recognized at the Arts Council’s premiere event.

And…the Gala is really connected to each artist, instructor, staff, board member and volunteer as our mandate together is to enrich the quality of our lives through the arts.  Well, it has done that- tenfold!

So, if you enjoy the arts, an audience member, an artist, instructor, volunteer or see the value of how the arts makes your family’s life better, you will embrace the Gala also as YOUR Gala!  We welcome you to join us at the next Celebrate the Arts! Saturday Night (Almost)Live!  Virtual Fundraising Gala on Feb. 26th – see steinbacharts.ca for your early bird tickets discounts.

We have each touched the arts community or Gala in some way. Celebrate the Arts!  and be grateful for the privilege of being someone whom it has touched back!  That gift is priceless in our life’s journey.

This blog post is a special contribution by Cindi Rempel Patrick, Director of Development of the Steinbach Arts Council