News and Events
Patron of the Arts, Flora L. Thornton, Honored at Masquerade Gala
Friends of the Center for the Arts Guild and the Crest Associates at Pepperdine University celebrated another successful year in style, as they donned elaborate masks for the annual summer gala theme, "Masquerade into the Night." The event on June 7, at the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue, featured silent auctions, dinner for the 200-plus attendees, and a concert by the popular vocalist Steve Tyrell.
Dorothy Stotsenberg dons her mask.
The masquerade ball tradition hails from Italy, the home of opera. It was a fitting theme for an evening that also honored local arts patron Flora L. Thornton. The namesake of the Flora L. Thornton Opera Program at Pepperdine University, she was the first recipient of the inaugural John Raitt Legacy Award for outstanding contributions to the arts.
"The award is designed for someone who has really contributed to the arts both at Pepperdine and throughout Los Angeles," says Rebecca Carson, the director of the Center for the Arts. "Flora Thornton has been particularly instrumental in our opera program as its founder. One of the big highlights of the night was when the award was presented by John Raitt's granddaughter to Flora Thornton's family."
As Thornton was unfortunately unable to attend, her family enjoyed a tribute to her work by Pepperdine President Andrew K. Benton, followed by a short video from students in the Heidelberg program in Germany, who are studying opera there during the summer months.
Popular jazz singer Steve Tyrell
Following the dinner and awards, jazz singer Steve Tyrell serenaded the gathering with cabaret-style classics, such as "The Way You Look Tonight," which he memorably performed in the 1991 Steve Martin film, The Father of the Bride. "He had our guests up and dancing. It was a relaxing way to end the evening," says Carson.
This was the first time the gala has been held at the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue. Traditionally, the event has been hosted in a private home, but for logistical reasons it became necessary to find an alternative.
"This was a really beautiful indoor/outdoor venue for that event," Carson says. "It was also a great opportunity for us to connect with our neighbors, as the synagogue is right down the road from us at Pepperdine."
The Center for the Arts Guild supports arts education activities and performances, including the popular ARTSReach program for schools, which provides free performances to 10,000 school children each year. The Guild also supports the arts facilities, including the Weisman Museum of Art, provides high-quality master classes and workshops with guest artists, and supports emerging artists.
For more information about the Guild, call (310) 506-4594, or visit the Center for the Arts Guild Web site.