Press Room

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


July 10, 2013
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 performances and exhibitions by College of Visual and Performing Arts students and faculty, sumptuous buffets and beverages, a silent auction of arts-related items and experiences and a dazzling performance by

Broadway and television star and Tony Award winner Laura Benanti


FAIRFAX, Va., July 10, 2013 – George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) is proud to announce its eighth annual ARTS by George! gala this September. One of the premier arts events in Northern Virginia, this stellar benefit event is dedicated to providing support for student scholarships in the areas of visual arts, dance, music, theater, computer game design, film and video studies and arts management, as well as the Great Performances at Mason season at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts.Held on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 at 5 p.m., ARTS by George! will take place in the de Laski Performing Arts Building on Mason’s Fairfax Campus, as well as Harris Theater and a tented plaza next to the performing arts building.

“The arts are critical in our society,” said Mark Shugoll, who serves as co-chair of this year’s ARTS by George! with his wife, Merrill Shugoll. “Giving students on a college campus the opportunity to see great artists perform, while developing their own artistic talents, is a responsibility to which we should all commit. ARTS by George! does just that. Contributions fund performances on campus by leading artists from around the world, as well as scholarships for arts students so they can fulfill their artistic promise. Plus we guarantee a great time! ARTS by George! is the gala people want to attend!”

This highly anticipated benefit event commences as guests embark on an artistic journey winding through CVPA’s classrooms, studios and performance spaces throughout Mason’s arts complex. Guests enjoy fascinating showcases of performances and exhibitions by CVPA’s outstanding student and faculty artists, while enjoying sumptuous food and wine provided by such local restaurants, caterers and wine vendors as Boxwoods, Casa Italia, La Isla Corporation, Lemongrass Truck, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Zoë’s Kitchen and RSVP Catering.

The evening’s festivities include a silent auction of unique arts-related items and experiences. Items up for bid include artwork by CVPA students and faculty, private lessons with CVPA faculty, private tours of New York City and Washington, D.C. art museums with School of Art faculty, tickets to sporting events, spa packages, culinary experiences, performance ticket packages and vacations to destinations across Virginia and the United States.

The evening culminates in George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall with a gala performance by Tony Award winner Laura Benanti, who presents an extraordinary evening filled with the emotional ballads and sensational showstoppers that skyrocketed her to fame at the age of 18. Benanti combines her unprecedented singing chops with her natural knack for comedy, to bring forth a show that’s equally enchanting as it is hilarious. “Ms. Benanti is a natural, not only on Broadway but also in cabaret.” (The New York Times) This Broadway and television star has won critical acclaim and numerous accolades for her diverse portrayals of nun-turned-governess Maria von Trapp in “The Sound of Music” and wallflower-turned-stripper Gypsy Rose Lee in “Gypsy” opposite Patti LuPone (a role for which she earned a Tony Award), as well as appearances in “The Wedding Singer,” “Nine,” “Into the Woods” and “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.” She recently starred as a group grief counselor opposite Matthew Perry on the NBC sitcom, “Go On.”

Following the performance, ARTS by George! guests are welcomed onto the Concert Hall stage for a champagne and dessert reception with Laura Benanti.

ARTS by George! is generously supported by many businesses and individuals in the greater Washington, D.C. area. Sponsorship Committee co-chairs are Carolyn Peterson, Carol Hermandorfer and Don Conwell. Business Partnership co-chairs are Joseph Catalano and Val McWhorter.




5:00 p.m.             Student showcases in visual arts, music, dance, theater, computer game design, film and video studies and arts management throughout the classrooms, studios and performance spaces of the de Laski Performing Arts Building and Harris Theater.

5:00 p.m.            Creative cuisines and fine wines bars throughout the event.

5:00 p.m.            Silent auction of unique arts-related items and experiences.

8:00 p.m.            Concert Hall performance by Laura Benanti.

9:45 p.m.            Champagne and dessert reception on stage with Laura Benanti.




Event Co-Chairs

Mark and Merrill Shugoll


Sponsorship Co-Chairs

Carolyn Peterson

Carol Hermandorfer

Don Conwell


Business Partnership Co-Chairs

Joseph Catalano

Val McWhorter


Steering Committee Chairs

Barry Broadway

Eileen Duggan

Trish Fiser

Sharon Gottlieb

Ida Portland

Bob Purks


In-Kind Sponsors


Casa Italia

La Isla Corporation

Lemongrass Truck

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro

Zoës Kitchen

Broadway Gallery

FASTSIGNS of Fairfax

RCG Associates

RSVP Catering

Worth Higgins & Associates Inc.


TICKETS FOR ARTS BY GEORGE! (includes student performances and exhibitions, food, beverages, Laura Benanti concert and champagne and dessert reception on stage with the artist) are $200/person. Contact Deborah Páez Hoesly at or 703-993-4188 or visit to order tickets and/or inquire about sponsorship opportunities and benefits. Like ARTS by George! on Facebook:

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.


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