Fitton Center readies for ‘Island Party’ Season Launch event

The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is celebrating its annual Season Launch with a festive “Island Party” theme. Every gallery, studio and classroom, as well as performance, rehearsal and event spaces will be open for guests to enjoy and explore.

Attendees should come dressed in island attire — Hawaiian shirts, grass skirts and flip flops.

“For us, it’s about coming to the Fitton Center, or seeing the Fitton Center itself a little differently. We’re always looking for ways to reach out to people with our programming, events and education. So, people can take a new look at the Fitton Center every season,” said Ian MacKenzie-Thurley, executive director of the center.

Photo: Dolce Vita Photography/Dolce Vita Photography

The 2019-2020 Season Launch is set for Friday, Aug. 16, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. More than 1,450 guests turned out for the Season Launch event and 25th Anniversary celebration in 2018.

Serving those in Hamilton and throughout Butler County, MacKenzie-Thurley said the fifth annual Season Launch event is an exciting opportunity to experience everything the Fitton Center has to offer.

“Each season is a little different. We have things we do very well each year. We always have new programming and new educational opportunities or classes. Maybe you’ve seen the Fitton Center, but you’ve never been inside, or never been engaged, or seen a show. We put that opportunity out, fresh, each season to encourage people to come here, be involved, to come see us at community events, or with our Community Outreach program, but also here at the Fitton Center,” he said.

As part of the evening, there will be artists working and creating. If guests would like to ask about a certain class or activity, staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and provide more information.

The evening’s highlights will include live music by The SunBurners. Other features will include class demonstrations, an exhibition opening, and the presentation of the 2019-2020 season of performances, exhibitions and events. (The new season brochure will be distributed at the event.) Appetizers will be provided throughout the evening with a cash bar available on the Riverview Terrace. Guests will also be able to buy some of the items that have been made at the Fitton Center at the Bake Sale.

“We’re incredibly proud of all of our seasons. We’ve seen over 26 sold-out shows over the last two seasons, so there’s great interest. We advise guests to book early. Our Fitton Family Fridays have been completely sold out for the last two seasons,” MacKenzie-Thurley said.

The gallery opening for a new exhibition, “Inner Fragments and Sign of the Times,” also will be held Aug. 16 in conjunction with the Season Launch. The exhibition will remain on display through Oct. 4.

Among other season highlights, the Fitton Center will bring back Ignacio Berroa with “Ignacio Berroa Trio: Straight Ahead from Havana” on Saturday, Sept. 21 as part of the Fitton Showstoppers! series.

After the success of their previous “David Bowie,” “Women of Rock” and “Kickin’ Some Brass” shows, the Just Strange Brothers band will return on Saturday, May 16 with “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” featuring the sights and sounds of Sir Elton John.

The “Fitton Christmas Show” led by Nancy James and backed by the River City Band is set for two performances on Dec. 14 and Dec. 15. 

Other upcoming performances include “Shades of Buble’ — A Three-Man Tribute to Michael Buble’” on Saturday, March 14, and a night of musical reflections on the Shifty Art Exhibition at the Fitton with a concert by the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra on Saturday, Feb. 1.

This year, the Jazz & Cabaret series will be more interactive with programs that feature Mambo Combo Salsa dancing (with music, a dance floor and Salsa lessons) on Saturday, Nov. 2, and the Hot Magnolias on Saturday, Feb. 22, as they take to the stage to lead a Mardi Gras party in downtown Hamilton.

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