JPAC gala lets adults get their hands dirty

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Ann Fiore
Thursday, September 4, 2014

JANESVILLE—The Janesville Performing Arts Center turns 10 this month, and it's throwing a party fit for a kid.

Partygoers can paint, tap dance and re-enact movie scenes. They can nibble mac and cheese and sip kiddie cocktails. They can make their friends do silly things onstage.

All that while wearing high heels, tailored pants, dry-clean-only dresses and suits.

The Sept. 13 event—the Imagination Celebration Gala—could be for kids, but it's a fundraiser for adults. It replaces the performing arts center's traditional gala, which in past years has featured top artists such as Tony Bennett and Richard Marx.

JPAC decided to go with the children's theme, in part, after considering the strength of its 2014-15 Live on Main Street series, said Elizabeth Horvath, executive director.

“All the performers in the series could be gala artists,” she said. “To go above and beyond it seemed a little ridiculous.”

Organizers also took a cue from the Wonder Ball, a popular fundraiser for the Madison Children's Museum. JPAC has increased its children's programming over the last two years, so the “dress like adults, play like kids” theme fit.

“So it's just like when kids come and learn new things, but we give it a twist for adults,” Horvath said.

For $100 per person, the gala will give adults different ways to be creative through painting, dancing, acting and improvisational games. Food and specialty cocktails will feature traditional kid favorites dressed up for the over-21 set.

Children still can be part of JPAC's 10th anniversary, however.

Michael Plessel, owner of Integrity Martial Arts, will offer a free seminar on bullying prevention for those ages 7 to 18. The seminar is part of a public open house from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10, at JPAC.

The focus on children's programs will continue this fall.

Children ages 9 to 14 are invited to join JPAC's new youth choir, which starts rehearsing Sept. 15 for a Nov. 25 Christmas concert. New Creative Kids classes also are planned, focusing on improvisation, music exploration and creative play.

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