Celebration Commemorates 50-Year Kent State University/Musical Arts Association Partnership Through Scholarship Fundraiser

Evening to include Grammy-nominated, Tony-winning performers and significant modernist artist

Kent State University’s School of Art, School of Theatre and Dance and the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music all have one thing in common: professional summer programs that stemmed from a partnership in 1968 with the Cleveland Musical Arts Association, the parent company of the Cleveland Orchestra and Blossom Music Center.

The Blossoming Gala on Saturday, Sept. 22, at Kent State University’s Kent Student Center Ballroom will commemorate 50 years of Porthouse Theatre, Kent Blossom Music Festival and the Kent Blossom Art Intensives.


In celebration of the 50th anniversary of this successful partnership, the Blossoming Gala will take place on Saturday, Sept. 22, in the Kent Student Center Ballroom. Hosted by Kent State’s College of the Arts, the Blossoming Gala will commemorate 50 years of Porthouse Theatre, Kent Blossom Music Festival and the Kent Blossom Art Intensives. The evening will feature a notable alum from each of the Kent/Blossom programs in a unique, one-of-kind program, offering guests the rare opportunity to experience three highly recognized artists and alumni who will perform and interact with the audience. 


Broadway performer and Tony Award-winning actress, singer and songwriter Alice Ripley, who was seen in the 1980s on the Porthouse Theatre stage, will perform a set of Broadway tunes from Broadway shows for which she was an original cast member. These include “Sunset Boulevard,” “Side Show” (for which she was Tony-nominated for her role and performed at the Tony Awards), “The Who’s Tommy” and “The Dead.” Ms. Ripley also appeared in “Les Misérables” at the Imperial Theatre as Fantine. It was her work as Diana in the Pulitzer Prize-winning rock opera “Next to Normal,” for which she earned her Tony Award in 2009. Ms. Ripley is a graduate of Kent State’s School of Theatre and Dance.


The evening’s entertainment also will include distinguished clarinetist David Shifrin, who was a student at the Kent Blossom Music Festival in 1970. Mr. Shifrin will perform Debussy and Bernstein with Steinway Artist Donna Lee, D.M.A., professor and coordinator of piano division at Kent State. Mr. Shifrin will also perform the Weber Quintet with the School of Music’s Efferus String Quartet. Mr. Shifrin is an in demand orchestral soloist, recitalist and chamber music collaborator. He has served as principal clarinetist with the Cleveland Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra (under Stokowski), the Honolulu and Dallas symphonies, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and New York Chamber Symphony. Plus, he has appeared with the Philadelphia and Minnesota orchestras and the Dallas, Seattle, Houston, Milwaukee, Detroit and Phoenix symphonies. 


Philip Pearlstein, the influential American painter best known for Modernist Realism nudes, whom critics have cited as the preeminent figure painter of the 1960s to 2000s in realist art, will be the third guest artist of the evening. Mr. Pearlstein’s work is in more than 70 museum collections in the United States, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Mr. Pearlstein will meet and greet with guests while several of his works will be on display. Mr. Pearlstein also will offer remembrances of his time teaching at Kent Blossom Art in 1969 and about his work and career over the decades.


Tickets cost $125 per person, $250 per couple. Sponsorship levels of $500 Silver Couple, $2,500 Gold Star Table Sponsor and $5,000 Platinum Sponsor, are available and include handcrafted blown-glass gifts (made in the School of Art), photos with guest artists and a private reception prior to the start of the evening’s public festivities. The evening also will include a unique basket and live auction of art-related items, including theatre and orchestra tickets, paintings, glass and ceramics, fashion and more. A highlight of the live auction items will be a special painting created by Kent resident and impressionist Jance Lentz-Hatch, who recently passed away. Ms. Lentz-Hatch’s works have been seen all over the United States and most recently at Gallery 10 in Kent and the Bonfoey Gallery in Cleveland. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Butler Institute of American Art. The painting was created specifically for the Blossoming Gala and was one of Ms. Lentz-Hatch’s last works. A commemorative poster of the work will be given to all attendees in remembrance of Ms. Lentz-Hatch, who was an alumna of the Kent Blossom Art program as well as an alumna of Kent State’s School of Art, having received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in painting.


For more information or to make reservations, visit www.kent.edu/artscollege/blossoming-gala. Space is limited.


UPDATED: Thursday, December 08, 2022 07:57 AM