Lauding Larry: 2018 Baum School of Art gala honors long-time advocate Miley
There was sumptuous food, a silent auction, action-painting, a friendly kidnapping, tango dancing, and a major donation in the name of Larry Miley, the 2018 honoree at The Baum School of Art “Fall Gala.”
Friends of Miley, a Baum School of Art board member for five decades, joined to honor him with donations to benefit the school.
Among them, Dr. Christine Isabelle Oaklander, Art Consultant and Independent Art Historian, donated a signed copy of the book to which she contributed, “Footprints: The Art And Life Of Gary Erbe,” which accompanied a painting donated by Erbe, “Two Extremes Of Winter,” for the silent auction at the “Fall Gala,” Oct. 20, at the Baum School of Art, 510 Linden St., Allentown.
“I love the Baum School and I like Larry [Miley], so it seemed like a good thing to do,” said Oaklander during a reception at the gala prior to dinner, served by Catering by Karen Hunter, and attended by 134.
The silent auction included an array of fine art, including paintings, sculpture, jewelry, plus tickets to entertainment events, restaurants and gift vouchers for services. Bids were placed on cards during the 6 p.m. cocktail and hors d’oeuvres hour and 8 p.m. dinner with winning bids announced at 10 p.m.
Barnaby Ruhe, a godson of Baum School founder Walter Baum, and an artist, shaman, and a six-time world champion boomeranger whose exhibit “Regenesis” was in the David E. Rodale Gallery, did a live action-painting portrait of Miley and a ceremonial tribute to him during which white-sage incense, waved by Anne-Katrrin Spiess, filled the air, And then, Miley was whisked away by a bevy of Baum staff members.
Baum School of Art Executive Director Shanon S. Fugate, introducing Miley as the gala honoree, said, “In the past year alone, The Baum School of Art served 1,910 Lehigh Valley residents through free outreach and financial assistance programs at our facility and an additional 1,965 students out in community schools and neighborhood centers.
“Since 2013, we have increased our on-site community outreach programs by 57.6 percent and increased our off-site community outreach programs by 94.2 percent.
“With our tuition and free programs combined, The Baum School served 5,100 students, just last year.
“Imagine how many thousands of lives have been touched since 1972, in part because of Larry [Miley]’s support and advocacy.”
Merit scholarship awards are granted each spring session to children and teen Baum School students based on recommendations from Baum faculty members.
In lauding Miley, Baum School officials stated: “He is the epitome of a dedicated supporter, generous philanthropist, and strong arts advocate.
“Through the years, Larry’s impeccable style, charm, and enthusiasm for the school has multiplied the community’s support of the school’s mission.
“Many in the community know him as the man who loves art so much that he lives in a studio: The Hans Moller Studio. He has championed the legacy of Hans Moller, with proceeds from the sales of Moller’s works benefitting The Baum School of Art and the Allentown Art Museum.
“He is fondly known for his hospitality and warmth, along with his commitment to artists, arts institutions, and arts education.”
During the gala, the works of Jane Conneen, an accomplished miniature artist, and Miley’s late mother-in-law, were exhibited in the Rodale Family Gallery. Conneen’s artistic estate was donated to The Baum School. Proceeds from the sale of her works support a new scholarship fund created by Miley.
The Mimi Conneen Miley Scholarship Fund honor’s Miley’s late wife. Dinner tables for the gala featured centerpieces of sunflowers, Mimi’s favorite flower, and a yellow motif. Mimi Miley, a daughter of Jane Conneen, was a curator at the Allentown Art Museum.
Scott V. Fainor, BB&T community banking group executive, presented a check from the BB&T Community and Economic Development Fund to the Baum School via the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation for $50,000 in Miley’s honor to be used for capital expenses at the school.
Fainor presented Miley with a commendation from State Sen. Patrick M. Browne (R-16th) for Miley’s 50 years of service to Baum.
“He set a standard for all of us with enthusiasm and for getting the best out of everyone,” Fainor said of Miley.
Miley and a partner joined tango experts Malgorzata Rokicki and Pierre Baston in a few twirls across the floor.
Gala Committee chair was Holly Harter.
“Fall Gala” Platinum level sponsors were J. Lawrence Grim, Jr. and Kathleen O’Dea, and Gold level sponsors included City Center Allentown and JB and Kathleen Reilly, and Joan Moran and William Fenza.
The Baum School holds approximately 350 classes in drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry and metalsmithing, fashion design and construction, photography, graphic design, illustration and more.
The school’s David E. Rodale and Rodale Family Galleries holds more than 12 gallery exhibitions annually by regional, national and international artists, as well as student work and multiple juried exhibitions.
Baum School of Art, 510 Linden St., Allentown. Gallery hours: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday - Thursday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday. baumschool.org; 610-433-0032
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