Press Room

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


July 6, 2011
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.





Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 at 5 p.m. 

Benefit event features student and faculty performances and exhibitions, sumptuous food and beverages, and a dynamic joint performance by Michael Feinstein and Marvin Hamlisch, performing selections from the Great American Songbook!


FAIRFAX, Va., July 6, 2011 – George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) celebrates the 6th anniversary of ARTS by George! this fall. This annual benefit event is dedicated to providing scholarship support for CVPA students in the areas of visual arts, dance, music, theater, film and video studies, computer game design and arts management, as well as George Mason University’s Center for the Arts’ Great Performances at Mason series. Held on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 at 5 p.m., ARTS by George! will be located in the de Laski Performing Arts Building, as well as Mason’s Harris Theater and a tented plaza next to the performing arts building.

This extraordinary evening commences with multi-disciplinary showcases of the work of outstanding CVPA student and faculty amid a delectable array of food and beverages. The festivities also include a silent auction of unique arts-related items and experiences. The evening culminates in the Concert Hall with a dynamic joint performance by Michael Feinstein and Marvin Hamlisch, who join forces to celebrate the Great American Songbook. ARTS by George! is generously supported by many metro area individuals and businesses. Arts supporters Don and Tota Conwell are the event co-chairs for the 6th annual ARTS by George! Sponsorship co-chairs are Joseph Castiglia, Carolyn Peterson and Rena Vakay. Business Committee co-chairs are Evan Hineman and Joe Catalano.

“ARTS by George! brings together the college, the community and the professional arts world to celebrate and strengthen the Arts at Mason,” said Don Conwell, who also served as co-chair with his wife, Tota, for the 2010 event. “Its success is truly dependent on the investment and participation from the business community and individuals committed to the arts. Above all, the student talent right here in Northern Virginia is truly astounding and such an asset to the region.”

Attendees embark on an artistic journey winding through the College of Visual Performing Arts’ studios and other spaces throughout the arts complex, enjoying performances and exhibitions by Mason students and faculty, and sampling fine food and beverages provided by RSVP Catering, Lebanese Taverna and other area restaurants.

In recent years, the silent auction has become one of the highlights of the evening. Items up for bid this year include artwork by CVPA students and faculty, private lessons with CVPA faculty, private tours of New York City and D.C. museums with School of Art faculty, tickets to sporting events, culinary experiences, performance ticket packages and vacations to destinations across Virginia and the United States.

The evening also includes a gala performance by Michael Feinstein and Marvin Hamlisch, who present the best of popular music from Broadway to Hollywood. American vocalist, pianist, musicologist and foremost interpreter for the Great American Songbook, Feinstein has been hailed as “the quintessential New York voice” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The five-time Grammy-nominated artist headlined the inaugural ARTS by George! in 2006, and this year, he returns with Hamlisch – the renowned composer, conductor, musical director and pianist, who has won numerous Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Golden Globes, as well as a Tony Award. Dubbed “the consummate one-man extravaganza” by The New York Times, Hamlisch has created some of the best known and beloved music of our time, including the film scores for “The Way We Were,” “The Sting,” “Sophie’s Choice” and “Ordinary People,” and the music for the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “A Chorus Line.”

Immediately following the performance, ARTS by George! guests are welcomed onto the Concert Hall stage for a champagne and dessert reception with Michael Feinstein and Marvin Hamlisch.



5–7:30 p.m.            Multi-disciplinary showcases of the arts from all academic disciplines in George        Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts

5–7:30 p.m.            Silent Auction of unique arts-related items, services and experiences

5–7:30 p.m.            Sumptuous cuisine and bars throughout the performance spaces and the        tented plaza

8 p.m.                   Gala performance by Michael Feinstein and Marvin Hamlisch in George Mason            University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall

9:45 p.m.                Champagne and dessert reception on stage with Michael Feinstein and Marvin        Hamlisch





Event Co-Chairs

Don and Tota Conwell


Sponsorship Co-Chairs

Joseph Castiglia

Carolyn Peterson

Rena Vakay


Business Committee Co-Chairs

Evan Hineman

Joe Catalano


Steering Committee

Seumis G. Higgins

Vicki Huttar

Doug Huttar

So J. Lim

Brenda McNulty

Lilla Ohrstrom

Sonja Palomaki

Ida Portland

Bob Purks

Ilene Tognini

Bob Warakomsky

Pat Warakomsky

Judy Weltz


TICKETS FOR ARTS BY GEORGE! (includes student performances and exhibitions, food, beverages, Michael Feinstein and Marvin Hamlisch concert and dessert reception onstage with the artist) are $200/person. Contact Deborah Paez Hoesly 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

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. George Mason University – Where Innovation Is Tradition.