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April 15, 2013 : SLIDESHOW: O.U. Lancaster's Past and Future on Display at Arts Fundraising Event
- Cheri Russo
Communications and Marketing Manager

Lancaster – The sounds of Section 8, a men's a cappella group from Ohio University, filled the Wagner Theatre on the Lancaster Campus Saturday to mark the end of an evening where the past and present came together. A special fundraising event for the arts was held on Saturday, April 13. The event was called "Ohio University Lancaster Celebrates the Arts: A Reflection and A Glimpse."


Those in attendance toured several parts of Brasee Hall, while learning about the history of arts and culture on the Lancaster Campus and what the possibilities are for the future. A progressive dinner took them through several parts of the building that are crucial to arts and culture on campus.


"We hope to update our facilities to support more arts and culture activities on campus for our students and the community," said Development Director Mandi Custer."But, we need support from our community to be able to do that."


The reflection part of the evening appreciated the work of Anthony Davenport, an artist and a former Ohio University Lancaster professor of art. Davenport worked at OUL from 1978 to 2004. Those in attendance also looked back at past theatrical performances held in the Jeffrey R. Wagner Theatre on campus. Wagner was director of the theatre from 1969 – 1998.


The glimpse part of the night looked at the campus's vision for the Raymond S. Wilkes Gallery for the Visual Arts. The gallery is named after the former campus dean who served in that role from 1978 to 1994. Davenport and Wilkes started at OUL during the same year and worked together to build arts and culture on campus. Davenport's work was on display in the art gallery. Their widows, Maria Wilkes and Kay Davenport, helped plan the evening's festivities. The night also glimpsed into the future of theatre and performing arts at Ohio University Lancaster.


The event included live music and a backstage look at Little Shop of Horrors, which is being performed by the OUL Theatre from April 18 – 27. Participants could get their picture taken on stage.


"The arts are a significant part of our history here at OUL, and as dean one of my goals is to preserve this history as best we can and to make sure our future includes artistic and cultural opportunities for our students and our community," said Lancaster Campus Dean Jim Smith. "One of the goals I discuss on campus is to expand, for our students and our community, intellectual and cultural opportunities to enrich, develop the mind, and establish an interest in lifelong learning and intellectual stimulation. This is the kind of programming that is happening and needs to continue to happen at Ohio University Lancaster. However, the key to strengthening and enhancing these initiatives is the financial support of our alumni, friends, and community.I want to bring more great minds, great thinkers, great artists and great performers to campus to develop and enrich all that come to learn here either as a student or a lifelong learner of our community."


The cost of the event was $50 per person and all proceeds benefit the OUL Arts and Culture Fund as part of The Promise Lives Campaign. The Campaign is a $450 million fundraising initiative at Ohio University to support scholarships, faculty, the student experience, facilities, and community outreach. So far the Campaign has raised more than $419 million in support of these priorities. The Campaign ends in June, 2015.


On the Lancaster Campus, funds are being raised to support scholarships, arts and culture, facilities and future endeavors through planned giving.


Ohio University's Lancaster Campus and Pickerington Center are a critical gateway to education and opportunity for students and the community. Fourteen associate's degree and nine bachelor's degree majors are offered, along with four master's degree programs at the Pickerington Center. The Lancaster Campus has experienced tremendous progress since its founding in 1956, and continues to provide a high quality university education within a small-college setting at an affordable price.


To learn more about The Promise Lives Campaign or to make a donation, contact Mandi Custer at or 740-654-6711 ext. 234.