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VOL. 125 | NO. 141 | Thursday, July 22, 2010

Arts ‘All-Access Pass’

Bravo brings Memphis arts scene to young professionals

LESLEY YOUNG | Special to The Daily News

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Nadia Sophia performs fire hula at the ArtsMemphis Bravo Block Party 2009-2010 Bravo season kick-off.  Photo: Nathan W Berry

For close to 50 years, local foundation ArtsMemphis has offered various programs and fundraising efforts to support the vibrant arts community of the Memphis area.

At the same time it celebrates its longevity, the organization also keeps an eye to the future to ensure the continuation of this legacy.

One way the group works to keep new blood flowing in is through its membership option Bravo, which targets 21- to 40-year-olds by offering parties and special events and discounted rates on performances and exhibitions throughout the year.

“We want to cultivate the next generation of philanthropists in the arts for Memphis,” said ArtsMemphis president and CEO Susan Schadt. “(Bravo is) a great way for younger professionals to get plugged into the city and see what our arts offerings are.”

Thursday the organization will launch its next Bravo season at a free event held at the Center for Southern Folklore and Pembroke Square Arcade at 119 S. Main St. starting at 6 p.m.

At the kickoff, arts enthusiasts can preview events to come during the 2010-2011 season and purchase Bravo memberships at a discounted rate of either $125 for couples or singles for $85.

Bravo membership includes benefits such as more than 10 arts events throughout the year with complimentary beer, wine and hors d’ouevres, and special ticket discounts to arts events throughout the year.

Some of the events for the upcoming season include a private, docent-led tour of the Brooks Museum of Art’s exhibit “Who Shot Rock N Roll,” a private performance of Opera Memphis’ “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Playhouse on the Square and a private art tour of the new Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

“Bravo is a great way to get people involved in and know about the arts organizations in town. Say you go to see ‘Footloose’ at Playhouse on the Square, and that inspires you to start a lifelong relationship with Playhouse,” Schadt said. “It’s a very social way to go and do and experience what’s going on in Memphis. It’s kind of like a backstage pass. We call it the all-access pass to the arts in Memphis. And some of the events are exclusive to Bravo members only, so that the only way you’re going to experience them is through Bravo.”

Membership also includes invitations to ArtsMemphis events and two-for-one tickets to events hosted by the organizations it supports.

Thomas Robinson, a 29-year-old fundraiser for Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA), joined Bravo six years ago when he returned home from college and sought out like-minded people his age who were also interested in the arts.

“I love it. It’s been a great way to meet people and to sample what’s going on in the arts,” Robinson said. “That’s one of the great things about Memphis, all the cultural things we have to offer, and this gives exposure to them and to Bravo members to help us have a fulfilling life.”

Thursday’s kickoff event will feature performances by the Bluff City Backsliders, hip-hop troupe Hypelife Arts and fire dancer Nadia Sofia, a photo booth for rock ‘n’ roll-style portraits, tours of the Center for Southern Folklore and the Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art, and food provided by Majestic Grille.

During last year’s kickoff event, ArtsMemphis garnered more than 250 Bravo memberships.

“Every dollar we raise goes to our annual fund, which goes back out to the arts organizations we support,” said Lauren Boyer, community services and operations manager for ArtsMemphis.

ArtsMemphis supports 24 arts organizations annually.

Last year it allocated 95 percent of its annual campaign and enhancement funds from the Memphis for the Arts campaign and awarded more than $4 million to the Memphis arts community.

Funds from ArtsMemphis are used to provide support for performing and visual arts organizations, community projects with an arts focus and to sustain Arts for Children and Teachers (ACT) arts education program in the Memphis City Schools.

“I am so excited about our kickoff. I think it’s a preview to one of the best seasons we’ve ever had,” Schadt said.

For a list of organizations supported by ArtsMemphis or for more information about the organization or a Bravo membership, visit www.artsmemphis.org or call 578-2787.

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