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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. Held on the campus of Saint Francis University in Loretto, the Gala 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-ninth annual Gala, "Red, White and Blue" will be held on July 22, 2017. The event will feel like the Fourth of July with the color guard, flages, bunting and other decorations under the tent. Guests will be greeted by none other than Uncle Sam himself and will be treated to a display of a World War 2 Jeep. Serving as chair is Glenda Forosisky.




To read a press release about the 2016 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 sixteenth annual Garden Party, "Roaring '20s," is scheduled for June 3. The event will include games of chance, auctions and live period music, as well as exclusive exhibitions of full classic automobiles of the 1920s and '30s and antique mascots/hood ornaments. The live auction is highlighted by original artwork from Chas Fagan and Rita Haldeman. Connie Pilz is chair, with Peggy Shepler co-chair.



To read a press release about the 2017 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 2016 program was chaired by Chantel Ventura and featured gourmet whiskey flights, jewelry and art raffle, and live and silent auctions. The style show offered fashions by Sapphire 9, as well as lingerie by HTH Enterprises, LLC and furs by Carl W. Herrmann Furs. The 2017 Think Pink event is scheduled for November 3.




To read a press release about the 2016 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 and those individuals, businesses and organizations that make an outstanding commitment to furthering the arts in their communities. The event features dinner, as well as presentation of SAMA’s Trustees Emeritus, Volunteerism and Service to the Arts awards recipients. The 2017 program will be held on April 22 at SAMA-Ligonier Valley in honor of the Museum's 20th anniversary. SAMA will present its prestigious Service to the Arts Award to Marian Morgan, and the Volunteerism Award to Barbara and Ed O'Brien. The Award for Artistic Distinction will be presented to Rita Haldeman, while Fort Ligonier will receive the Award for Architectural Excellence.



To read a press release about the 2017 Night of Distinction dinner, please click here.