Annual Artworks Gala raises funds, supports community organization

Stephen and Barbara Ross stand between (left) Trinidy Williams and (right) Roxanne Cullen as the couple is announced as the Artworks 2019 Patrons of the Arts during the annual gala on Friday. The couple has served in a number of roles at Artworks, including as members of its board of directors. (Pioneer photos/Taylor Fussman)

BIG RAPIDS — From a live dry pastel demonstration to a backdrop filled with intricate paintings, art truly came alive at the annual Artworks Gala on Friday.

Approximately 250 people gathered at Roben-Hood Airport in Big Rapids to celebrate the world of the arts and support their community.

Artworks Executive Director Lynne Scheible said the annual gala serves as the major fundraiser for the organization, and it is always exciting to see people getting involved during the event.

“The goal is to connect the community with the arts and have a fun and social evening to help raise money for Artworks programming,” she said.

While people mingled and reveled in the pieces of work around them, one couple also received the honor of being named the Artworks 2019 Patrons of the Arts.

Stephen and Barbara Ross, who have served in a number of roles at Artworks, received the award this year, joining a long line of others who have shown their support to the artistic community in Big Rapids.

Artist Tom Tomasek works on a dry pastel drawing of a landscape during the 2019 Artworks Gala. His work was auctioned off during the event to one lucky guest.

In addition to enjoying food provided by Pere Marquette Catering and participating in silent and live auctions for a variety of prizes, guests could watch art being created before their eyes during a demonstration by artist Tom Tomasek.

Tomasek spent the evening creating a one-of-a-kind landscape scene with dry pastels, which was auctioned off before the night was over.

“It’s always important to give people a chance to see the process, and it’s great to see people supporting the arts,” he said.

Jan de Regnier, one of the many attendees of the annual gala, said she loves offering her support to the many local artists.

“The gala is just such a great event. There’s so many wonderfully talented people in this area,” she said.

Local artist Sheila Geglio browses the silent auction items during the annual Artworks Gala on Friday.


Posted by Taylor Fussman

Taylor is the cops and courts reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review newspapers. She can be reached at (231) 592-8362 or by email at

Leave a Reply