Press Room

For Press Inquiries, contact Camille Cintrón Devlin, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at 703-993-8794 or


August 11, 2009
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.





Benefit event features a sampling of student performances,

fine food and a concert by

Tony Award-winning leading man Brian Stokes Mitchell with the debut of the

American Festival Pops Orchestra under the baton of Anthony Maiello

Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009 at 5 p.m.

FAIRFAX, Va., August 11, 2009—George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) is proud to announce the fourth annual ARTS by George!a benefit event that supports student scholarships and the Great Performances at Mason series—at Mason’s Fairfax campus on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. The evening begins with an exciting showcase of the extraordinary artistic talents of Mason students and faculty, as well as unique silent auction of arts-related items and experiences. ARTS by George! culminates in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall with a performance by acclaimed Tony Award-winning Broadway artist Brian Stokes Mitchell. Mitchell will be accompanied by the American Festival Pops Orchestra, which makes its debut, performing under the direction of Anthony Maiello. ARTS by George! is generously supported by many metro area individuals and businesses. Event co-chairs are long-time local arts supporter Julie Dyson of Alexandria, and Enrique Tessada, founder and chairman of Tessada & Associates, Inc. in Springfield, Va. Sponsorship co-chairs are Carolyn Peterson and Don Conwell.

ARTS by George! is a unique evening of music, dance, theater, visual art and creative cuisine, celebrating the excellence of the arts at Mason. Attendees embark on an artistic journey winding through CVPA’s studios, while sampling delicacies and enjoying artistic presentations by Mason students. It is an exciting opportunity for attendees to view “works in progress” by CVPA’s talented student and faculty artists.

Patrons will once again have the opportunity to participate in a unique silent auction of arts-related items, services and experiences, which will begin at 5 p.m. Several of the items up for bid include artwork created by Mason faculty, students and alumni, as well as work by professional artists; private tours with Mason faculty at museums and galleries in Washington, D.C. and New York City; consultations with CVPA administration for businesses and non-profits; opportunities to meet Olympia Dukakis, Mark Morris and the Virginia Opera artists; private voice, conducting and instrumental lessons with Mason music faculty; and an opportunity to join CVPA Dean William Reeder and former Redskins players in a round of golf.

At 8 p.m., guests arrive in the Concert Hall for a performance by Brian Stokes Mitchell with the American Festival Pops Orchestra. Vincent Oppido, a graduate student in Mason’s School of Music, has collaborated with Mitchell to arrange an original overture of beloved songs from Broadway musicals in which Mitchell has appeared.

Dubbed Broadway’s “last leading man” by The New York Times, Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a rich career on Broadway, television and film. This tremendous baritone is known for his musical versatility, charisma and “chameleonic” ability to evoke any emotion. He has received numerous accolades for his work including a Tony Award for “Kiss Me, Kate,” and Tony nominations for “Man of La Mancha,” “Ragtime” and “King Hedley II.” He has also appeared in television roles on “Trapper John, M.D.,” “Crossing Jordan” and “Frasier.” For this unforgettable performance, Mitchell takes the stage for a spectacular evening of timeless show tunes, ballads and classic loves songs, such as “Embraceable You,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and his showstopper, “The Impossible Dream.” “He’s a talented musician and an engaging personality, but his rarest gift is for knocking show tunes over the moon.” (The Washington Post)

The American Festival Pops Orchestra, under the direction of Anthony Maiello, is composed of more than 60 professional musicians from across the Washington, D.C. area, including Mason faculty, musicians from the United States military ensembles and regional orchestras. The AFPO is also proud to include a select group of talented young artists from Mason’s School of Music. 

 “ARTS by George! is advancing to a new creative level,” Reeder said. “The formation of the professional American Festival Pops Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Anthony Maiello, and the collaboration between Brian Stokes Mitchell and CVPA graduate student Vincent Oppido represents a bold thrust of creativity. It is a natural extension of the academic, professional and community forces that constitute the Arts at Mason.”


5 p.m.                        Showcases of the arts, buffets and beverages

5 p.m.                        Silent Auction opens

8 p.m.                        Concert by Brian Stokes Mitchell and the American Festival Pops   Orchestra

9:45 p.m.                  Champagne and dessert reception on stage with Brian Stokes   Mitchell

ARTS by George! Steering Committees

Event Co-Chairs

Julie Dyson

Enrique Tessada

Sponsorship Co-Chairs

Carolyn Peterson

Don Conwell

Steering Committee

Frank and Bert Boyd

Pierrette Bradshaw

Bob Buchanan

Charles Joyce

Shirley Joyce

Ida Portland

Candy Reeder

Carole T. Scanlon

Julie Thompson

Judy Weltz 

TICKETS FOR ARTS BY GEORGE! (includes student performance showcases, food, beverages, Brian Stokes Mitchell concert, and dessert reception onstage with the artist) are $200/person. Contact Deborah Paez at DPAEZ@GMU.EDU OR 703-993-4188, or visit to order tickets and/or inquire about sponsorship opportunities and benefits.

About the College of Visual and Performing Arts

The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.

About George Mason University

Named the #1 national university to watch by U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university.