QUINCY — The Beaux Arts Ball crown was passed Saturday night at the Oakley-Lindsay Center in Quincy, and for the first time, the winner is not the Beaux Arts Queen.
“I was a bit skeptical about doing this myself,” QHS junior Luke Dotson said. Dotson was named Philanthropic Champion at Saturday night’s Beaux Arts Ball. “But my sister was the Volunteer Champion last year, and she encouraged me through it.”
Along with the change in title, Dotson – as well as junior Saya Geisendorfer, named Volunteer Champion of the Year – took home a trophy and a $500 scholarship for their efforts.
Alta King, director of development for the Art Center in Quincy, said that part of the Center’s strategic plan, created in 2018, is to expand all programs to be more inclusive, and that inclusion extended this year to the Center’s largest fundraiser.
“The Beaux Arts Ball was only open to senior girls, and that’s not really very inclusive,” King said. “So we changed it for that, as well as to try and increase overall interest and participation.”
Not only was the competition opened to both boys and girls, but it was also expanded to include high school juniors as well as seniors. And while the upperclassmen competed for the top prizes, sophomores and freshmen were included in the workshops and classes that constitute the process of the Beaux Arts Ball.
“Volunteering at the Art Center gets people involved in the community, and giving back to the community,” King said. “We think it helps teach philanthropy, it teaches leadership skills, and it helps just make the community a better place.”
Competitors in the Ball were instructed by community leaders through workshops, and then were set as instructors for their own classes, teaching grade school students how to create their own art.
Dotson said there should be a wider acceptance for people of all ages and backgrounds to be involved with arts, an outlook that matches the Quincy Art Center mission.
“I think it’s not as common as it should be for people to be involved in art,” he said. “For me, it’s changed my life. And just in general, it’s a really good experience for everyone to have.”
For other students weighing whether or not to compete in future Beaux Arts programs, Dotson said the Art Center team makes it as easy as one could expect.
“It’s really nothing to worry about,” he said. “Alta King and everyone at the Art Center is just so accepting and so nice.”
King said that some people in the community seem to have an inaccurate impression of the Quincy Art Center, an impression she aims to change.
“Art has power, it has the power to heal, the power to teach about different cultures, it helps expand creativity. Art just has so much power, that’s why it’s for everybody,” King said. “A lot of people think you have to have a membership to come to the Art Center, but it’s completely free and open to come visit our exhibits. You can wear whatever you’d like, come out, and just know that it’s a safe space for everybody.”
For more information on programs and exhibits at the center, please visit quincyartcenter.org or visit the gallery at 1515 Jersey. The gallery is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.