The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley held its annual gala on November 19 in its newly renovated theater. The theme for the soiree was “Enchanted” with the venue taking on the ambiance of a wondrous, sparkling fairy land.

The evening featured a catered dinner by Antonio Ayestaran, a performance by popular cover band Pop Rocks! and a live auction.

Thanks to the generosity of the evening’s attendees The Center for the Arts raised $171,475 over the course of the evening, an amount which will help fund The Center’s ongoing mission of making the arts accessible to all and supporting The Center’s new educational program CREATE – The Center Resource for Education, Arts, Theater and Exploration.

Photo by John Taber

The highlight of the evening was the surprise announcement that the main showroom – previously referred to as the Main Stage – will henceforth be known as The Marisa Funk Theater. Longtime Center supporter, philanthropist, and founder of Mountain Peoples Warehouse (now known as United Natural Foods) Michael and Alicia Funk have made a generous donation in memory of his daughter who recently passed, and the dedication was in her memory. The Center mourns Marisa’s loss along with her family and friends.

Funk’s gift is the largest ever received by The Center and will name the main stage theater at The Center in perpetuity. Amber Jo Manuel, Executive Director, stated: “I am deeply grateful to the Funks for recognizing the profound impact the arts and this theater can have on our community. We are humbled by this contribution in Marisa’s memory.”

The Center for the Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting arts and culture within the community and aspires to continue its “arts for all” campaign in Nevada County and beyond. For additional details regarding the gala and The Center’s programming please visit