Western Carolina University’s Friends of the Arts is celebrating a successful fundraising event that raised more than $113,000, with over $60,000 going directly to the organization’s endowed scholarship fund.

The Friends’ annual spring fundraiser was held Saturday, April 16, at the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. Activities included a performance of the Broadway musical “Gypsy,” 40-item silent auction, raffle, 100-bottle cork pull and an invitational gala with a live auction. The organization is currently celebrating its sixth year in support of WCU’s College of Fine and Performing Arts.

Friends of the Arts annual spring fundraiser

The Friends of the Arts annual spring fundraiser was held April 16.

The winner of the “Let WCU Entertain You” raffle was Sandra Deitz of Sylva, whose niece played the character Baby June in the WCU School of Stage and Screen’s production of “Gyspy.” Deitz was the sole winner of tickets for two to more than 20 performances on the WCU campus and season tickets to sporting events, plus $500 cash.

“It is the coming together of community and university united around the goal of raising funds for student scholarships and arts programming that makes this event unique and successful,” said Susan Belcher, chair of the 2016 Friends of the Arts Benefit and Gala. “Contributing businesses, participating attendees, faculty, staff, students and the hugely generous volunteer army behind this event all want to support student success.  It’s the ‘Western Way’ — and we love it.”

Top sponsors for the spring fundraiser were the Ascent Partnership, an initiative involving WCU and Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital; Entegra Bank; and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort. They were joined in supporting the effort by F. Patrick McGuire Dentistry, Evolution Wine Kitchen, Baxley’s Chocolates, WCU Catamount Athletics, Carolina West Radiology, Al and Jan Wilson, and Elisabeth and Wade St. John.

Friends of the Arts holds two events per year — the spring benefit and a fall membership drive concert. Friends of the Arts offers multiple levels of membership for anyone wishing to provide support throughout the year. More information can be found at foa.wcu.edu.