Swinging in the rain gala

Photo by Kristen Bass

Photo by Kristen Bass

Kristen Bass
Staff Writer

At 7 p.m. on Nov.1, Arts for All hosted the Gala “Swinging in the Rain” at Great Plains Coliseum. The Gala featured music by Triple Play, dancing and a live auction.

The theme “Swinging in the Rain” was evident upon entrance to the coliseum. An array of colored umbrellas, with handles of glow-in-the-dark florescent blue, adorned each table.

Items including paintings, wine, jewelry and a condo in Hawaii, sold during the live auction by Oklahoma Representative Don Armes.

Late into the evening the night was still young with couples swinging on the dance floor as the band played.

Jordan Godlewski is the Director of Communications on the board for Arts For All (AFA), a non-profit organization that raises funds to promote art in Southwest Oklahoma and is made up of people with a variety of interests working to ensure the presence of the arts.

Godlewski said AFA member groups provide the volunteers needed to coordinate major arts functions, such as the AFA Gala and AFA Festival.

“AFA member groups present world-class arts events,” Godlewski said, “and extend arts into the schools and throughout the community to well over 100,000 people each year.”

The Gala has played a major role in the culture of Southwest Oklahoma.

“Eighty percent of patrons to cultural events, such as the Arts for All Festival and Arts for All Gala, travel outside their own communities to attend the events,” Godlewski said. “This is a great way to increase civic participation through cultural experiences and reduce social isolation across different socials classes and ethnicities.”

Godlewski said the arts can also positively affect person’s mental condition.

“I’ve seen research that shows how artist used in the medical field to help people recover,” Godlewski said, “to help people deal with post-traumatic stress, mental illness; there’s just so many benefits to it.”

Donald Johnson attended the AFA Gala as a silver sponsor. His company, Kingdom Keepers Cleaning, supports the community by promoting the need for art in schools and throughout the Lawton community.

“We enjoyed getting to meet other business owners and artists and felt good being able to contribute and be a part of this event,” Johnson said. “We will continue to support.”

This year, the Gala accumulated $55,000, which will go to the six member groups next fiscal year.

AFA has two other events: a festival fundraiser and a fun-drive kick-off in late February.

On Nov. 8, Jamar Lockhart and Lockhart Entertainment Group will host the Southwest Music Festival’s “A Tribute to Our Troops” at the Great Plains Coliseum.

Lockhart said the festival is for the troops.

“We understand that the troops, they make sure that we are taken care of right here in the states and abroad, so we would like to do something to kind of recognize them,” Lockhart said.

Because some of his family served, Lockhart said he understands the importance of showing troops appreciation.

“My dad is a retired solider and then my oldest son is a solider now in the navy,” he said, “so you know, what better can I do if I want to be able to do events here in the community? What better could I have done to be able to honor both of them with a tribute to them?”

The festival will spotlight a country and gospel concert. Lockhart and others participants would like to present the largest tribute to the troops. He wants to capture up to five-hundred people singing the national anthem, then send the video to troops on Ft. Still and soldiers in Afghanistan.

Along with Lockhart, an enormous number of member organizations, representatives, board members and committee members faithfully support AFA.

For more information about AFA, visit www.lawtonafa.org.

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