To celebrate its 22nd anniversary season, Cara Mía Theatre Co. chose to confront the emerging Texas heat head-on with its Red Hot Fundraising Gala, a spicy evening that included live and silent auctions, dramatic demonstrations, and even a few games.
Master of ceremonies Chris Ramirez introduced not only artistic director David Lozano and board president Linda Cantu, but also the architects of the evening, honorary gala co-chairs Delia Jasso and Silvia Villareal.
Special guest The Honorable Miguel Solis, of the Latino Center for Leadership Development, spoke of his vision for leadership in the arts, and Wilson Alarcon of PepsiCo presented Cara Mía with a $5,000 check to further its work and mission.
The guests — many of whom took the night's theme to heart with scarlet dresses, shirts, and ties — furthered the fundraising efforts by bidding early and often on the silent auction items. Up for grabs were an official Dallas Cowboys football signed by Dak Prescott, an original Armando Sebastian painting, Mercado 369 handcrafted jewelry, and an original watercolor painting of the Dallas skyline by Tauma Wiggins. Also on offer were restaurant gift cards, tickets to local theater events, pampering products, art workshops, dance lessons, photography sessions, and even a gardening-themed basket complete with a colorful planter.
A live auction for two bottles of expensive Champagne, already chilled and accompanied by enough glasses to serve the winner's table, quickly rose the night's overall sum.
A live showdown for two spectacular prizes — a basket filled to the brim with lottery and scratch-off tickets and a huge box of Kate Weiser chocolates — was decided in a more unique fashion. Guests could purchase double-sided paddles that either displayed la cantante and el musico or el sol and la luna. During each round attendees chose which side to display, and after a coin flip, the non-matching paddles were asked to sit. Audience participation became heated as the standing finalists dwindled, with paddle opinions flying fast and loud across the room.
To demonstrate the important work that Cara Mía does with its youth-centered program The School of YES!, resident artistic ensemble member and teaching artist Frida Espinosa Müller pulled a few brave volunteers up onstage at Texas Discovery Gardens for a crash course in mask work. The School of YES! provides free fine-arts education to at-risk youth in communities of color, and donations cover everything from instructors to materials and equipment.
In total, Cara Mía smashed its goal by raising $28,971, the largest amount to date and only $1,000 shy of a landmark $30,000.