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  SAMA Art Museum




SAMA is able to offer free admission to its four museums thanks in large part to its fundraisers. As a non-profit organization, public donations and funds raised through events such as the Gala, the Garden Party, and The Art of Wine and Fashion are critical to SAMA’s success. These funds help us to maintain museum operations and sustain SAMA programs. Your support at these events helps us to bring art into the classrooms of schools across our six-county region and serve more than 15,000 students annually. Our fundraisers also help support SAMA initiatives like the Museum/Healthcare Partnership Program which helps area residents who suffer from chronic pain and discomfort. Additionally, these events also serve as “friend raisers,” providing the Museum with a vehicle for corporate and individual membership development, exhibition and education program awareness, and building new audiences throughout the region.

Through these fundraisers, SAMA raises unrestricted dollars through corporate donations and underwriting marketing initiatives, the selling of objects donated to live and silent auctions, and admission fees. Each year, hundreds of volunteers dedicate themselves to these events, which in turn typically attract more than 700 paying guests. For more information on SAMA’s fundraisers, or if you are interested in joining an organizing committee, please contact the Museum at (814) 472-3920.




Over the past three decades, the Gala has evolved into one of the most sophisticated and complex outdoor social events in Pennsylvania. The event, held on the campus of Saint Francis University in Loretto, combines fine art, gourmet cuisine, live music and a variety of games of chance to create an electric ambience. Live and silent auctions feature spectacular items such as artwork, vacation packages, antiques, collectibles, and much more. The Museum is indebted to the patrons, sponsors, benefactors and donors who contribute to this annual program. The thirty-seventh annual Gala, "African Odyssey," was held July 18, 2015. The event brought the sights and sounds of Africa to Loretto for what was one of the most exciting Galas to date. Guests were treated to a variety of games, live music and fabulous specialty bars. Costumed dancers from P&J Productions added to the ambience. The live auction offered a number of incredible items, including a scholarship to Saint Francis University, a diamond ring, a bubbling rock water feature from Tussey Landscaping, a whimsical Raku-fired sculpture by Helen Gorsuch, a five-night vacation at Paradise Village in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, a Pittsburgh Pirates Charities Suite package, original artwork by Kevin Kutz and Scott Steberger, and 2000 Yamaha DC3 Disklavier Grand Piano. The 2016 Gala, "Birthday Bash," will help celebrate SAMA's 40th anniversary on July 16.




To read a press release about the 2015 Gala, please click here.



  Garden party


SAMA-Ligonier Valley’s Garden Party is a community event designed to benefit the Museum and its lavish 400-square-foot flower gardens. Since its inception in 2002, the event has welcomed more than 1,500 individuals. The Garden Party begins with a champagne reception in the gallery celebrating the featured exhibition. Following the reception, guests proceed outside under a tent on the Museum lawn for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Live music is often featured, and silent and live auctions provide an opportunity to purchase a variety of items including artwork, antiques, collectibles, garden accessories, gift baskets, and much more. This year’s fourteenth annual Garden Party, "Hooked on Art," was chaired by Josita Karolyi, David Miller and Molly Miesse Miller. The Museum partnered with the Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited for the event, which will included several fishing-themed activities including fly casting and fly tying demonstrations and displays of historic trout angling artifacts and rare fly-fishing memorabilia. Guests were treated to cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and an elegant gourmet dinner prepared by chefs from Vallozzi's restaurants in Greensburg and Pittsburgh. Live music was provided by the Rick Purcell Band featuring Shari Richards. Auction highlights included an original Chas Fagan painting, a private themed wine reception at the Museum, a log cabin get-away in the Laurel Highlands, and a guided fly-fishing adventure for four along one of the region's beautiful trout streams.



To read a press release about the 2015 Garden Party, please click here.



  Think Pink/the art of wine and fashion


In recent years, SAMA-Altoona’s The Art of Wine and Fashion fundraiser has become one of the Altoona area’s most anticipated and sophisticated annual events. The program, which debuted in 2003, combines the excitement of big city clubbing with a night of high fashion and fine dining while also celebrating and supporting the arts. In 2013, the Museum rebranded the event as Think Pink. While the program format remains the same, SAMA will donate a portion of the proceeds from the event to the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign. The program begins at the Altoona Museum for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, before moving next door to The Columns for a buffet dinner, dessert, dancing, specialty bars, and silent auction. The 2015 program, "Round 2: The Fight Continues," was held November 6. The event was chaired by Chantel Ventura-Garofalo and featured buffet dinner by Bold and a style show with fashions by Sapphire 9 and the debut of a line of original cruise wear by Nancy Sheetz.




To read a press release about the 2015 Think Pink, please click here.



  night of distinction


The newest of SAMA’s major fundraisers, Night of Distinction debuted in 2012 as a venue to honor the Museum’s most benevolent patrons. The event features dinner, as well as presentation of SAMA’s Trustees Emeritus and Service to the Arts Award recipients. In recent years, SAMA introduced Betty Gamble, Jeanne Gleason, Joseph Mack, Edgar Dean Nelson, Shirley Pechter and Gerald Wolf as Trustees Emeritus. Service to the Arts awards were presented to Dr. Betty J. Lowell Cottle, J. William Meek III, Nancy Devorris, and the Wolf-Kuhn Foundation. At the 2015 program, SAMA presented its annual Service to the Arts Award to Jeanne Gleason, Shirley Hoyne and Chuck Olson. Barbara Savino was honored with the Volunteerism Award, and Joan Welch McCreary was appointed Trustee Emeritus.



To read a press release about the 2015 Night of Distinction dinner, please click here.