Cuban Sights and Sounds Fill the Blue Chip Casino for 2017 Lubeznik Center of the Arts’ Art Bash

Cuban Sights and Sounds Fill the Blue Chip Casino for 2017 Lubeznik Center of the Arts’ Art Bash
By: Contributor Last Updated: June 25, 2017

Annual Fundraiser Supports Lubeznik Center for the Arts' Outreach, Educational Programs

The sound of steel drums filtered in and out of Blue Chip Casino’s Stardust Event Center Saturday night as hundreds of people enjoyed a night in Havana at the Annual Lubeznik Center for the Arts’s Art Bash.

The annual fundraiser gala brought 350 people to Michigan City to help raise money for the center’s art programs to benefit adults and children who may not otherwise have access to art, literature, dance, and music, all while enjoying everything that local artists have to offer.

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“Tonight is the Art Bash, which is an annual fundraising gala for the Lubeznik Center for the Arts,” said Hannah Hammond-Hagman, Education Director for the Lubeznik Center. “Proceeds from tonight go to fund our educational outreach programs, which we do in elementary, middle, and high schools all around Michigan City, our summer camps, exhibits, and our in-house programs. Tonight’s fundraiser makes all of the possible.”

Located in Michigan City, the Lubeznik Center for the Arts was founded in 2004 and has since made a name for itself as an organization that not only values local artists and their creativity, but also makes sure that art is accessible to everyone of all ages. The center partners with organizations like Safe Harbor and the Boys & Girls Club to bring art to local students through programs like the Literacy Through the Arts, a program that combines literacy and art to encourage a child’s growth in school and life.

“Lubeznik is invaluable to anyone who loves the arts,” said Susan Bridge, Co-Chair of Art Bash and Board Member for the Lubeznik Center. “As a retired teacher, I believe you can’t put a price tag or a measure of value on the educational outreach. I think the way that the programs enrich the art experience for the kids in our community is extraordinary.”

As guests filed into the Stardust Event Center, they were greeted with color and culture as they took a trip to Havana, Cuba, the theme of this year’s Art Bash. Music filled the room while guests helped themselves to drinks and delicious Cuban food. The hall was decorated with plants and flowers native to Cuba, adding pops of color everywhere you looked. But the main attraction was a genuine 1955 Ford Thunderbird, generously put on display by a local couple, Bob and Pam Smith, much to the pleasure of car enthusiasts.

The event was made possible by dozens of local sponsors, including McDonald’s of La Porte, General Insurance Services,, Blue Chip Casino, and many more. For many years, these organizations have contributed time and energy, and have helped raise money for the children of La Porte County.

“Any events like Art Bash, whether its for the arts or the community, it’s great for Blue Chip Casino to be able to show its support,” said Joel Giannetti, General Manager for Blue Chip Casino. “We always try to help in any way we can. This is a great event and a great partnership.”

Everyone in attendance checked out all of the items available for the raffle and auction, ranging from theater tickets to handmade items, and beautiful paintings created by local artists. Later on in the event, instructors and dancers from a local dance school, Dimensions School of Social Dance, put on a Latin dance showcase in honor of the Cuban theme. Every guest had their heart strings tugged as a video began to roll highlighting the wonderful things the Lubeznik Center has done for at risk children in Michigan City schools and just how vital the organization is.

“I think it’s great to give back to the community,” said Kathy Henrichs, Producer for General Insurance Services. “Our mission at General Insurance Services is securing the futures of the communities we serve. So we want to see local organizations and local businesses grow and strive to better the communities that we all live in.”

The annual event had a special guest this year; Ron Magers, a former ABC7 Chicago news anchor, and the emcee for the night. His charm and excitement for the event was contagious as he held a lightning round fundraising session. In a matter of minutes, pagers and guests helped raise thousands upon thousands of dollars for the Lubeznik Center and the children and adults who benefit from all of the good work the organization does.

“I really love the idea of this event because I believe the arts are so important,” said Stephanie Swearington, Business and Client Development Specialist for Ideas in Motion Media. “I’ve always been interested in the arts, especially theater, and I know that that is just one of the many things that they help to support in the communities, to keep art open. It’s very important.”

Michigan City has a poverty rate of over 10% over the national rate. To help combat that, the Lubeznik Center reaches over 1,000 students through its after school programs, summer camps and field trips, offering children opportunities to learn new skills, new passions, and, most importantly, to learn more about themselves.

“I think it’s so important not only for us to support the arts, but also for everybody to support the arts,” said Glenn Lubeznik, Co-Owner of McDonald’s of La Porte. “Art is a critical thing here in La Porte County, but unfortunately, schools don’t have the money to help develop the students who have artistic talents. So, the Lubeznik Center brings opportunities to them that, for many students, they wouldn’t have access to.”

The annual Lubeznik Center for the Arts Art Bash was another successful night for the organization and everyone who benefits from the programs. Thousands of dollars were raised to bring art to local children and families and everyone at the Stardust Event Center was reminded just how important the arts are, not just for children, but also for our society. As he addressed the room of 350 people, Magers passionately repeated a quote from one of history’s greatest minds, Albert Einstein.

“The greatest scientists are artists as well.”

For more information about the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, go to